Ethic-of-Care and Ethic-of-Justice in Healthcare

Ethics-of-care and ethic-of-justice are the two approaches that are applied by health care providers in their practice, especially in ethical dilemmas. Among the non-interprofessional behaviors that may affect the mentioned approaches, one may note a lack of collaboration, disintegrated care, and negligence to colleagues’ actions and inquiries. While some nurses prefer ethics-of-justice, considering all people equal, others are more prone to assign ethic-of-care a top priority. This paper discusses the difference between these perspectives in the context of nursing practice.

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Ethic-of-justice implies that every patient and caregiver should be treated equally regardless of their needs and specific conditions. The universal rules and principles are put in the foundation of this perspective, and fair attitudes to all are promoted (Whitehead, Dittman, & McNulty, 2017).

The proponents of the ethic-of-justice value it as the only appropriate way to decision-making. In its urn, ethic-of-care takes a holistic approach to patients, paying attention to their cultural and social background as well as expectations. The specialists who select the above perspective strive to ensure that the needs of patients are fulfilled, and proper relationships are maintained. The ethical issues are addressed by them in a personalized manner to promote sensitivity and responsiveness.

For non-interprofessional behaviors, ethic-of-justice seems to be less complicated since the team members have a clear standard of caring and interacting with patients and colleagues. However, this may cause additional conflicts due to potentially emerging feelings of loneliness, isolation, and incomprehensibility. On the contrary, ethic-of-care enables nurses to act properly and provide multidimensional care, which cannot be achieved through the other identified approach based on rigid requirements (Whitehead et al., 2017). In other words, non-interprofessional behaviors specify the approach that is more suitable for patient care and positive patient outcomes.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) nursing is regarded as the profession that is responsible for the direct care of a patient, collecting, assessing, and synthesizing relevant information. From an ethic-of-care perspective, such effective strategies as holism, communication, and awareness creation may be discussed. Since empathy and involvement are the key elements of the above approach, the strategies aim to connect patients and caregivers to build relationships (Buell, 2015). The contextual assessment of a patient leads to a better understanding of his or her needs and, consequently, to patient satisfaction. The extended reliance on communication contributes to the sincere interest of nurses inpatients and more comprehensive care.

The nursing practice cannot use only one of the mentioned perspectives as both of them are significant yet interconnected. If one would take ethic-of-justice and apply it without ethic-of-care, he or she can hardly succeed due to a lack of empathy and patient-centered care goals. Otherwise, ethics-of-care also cannot be effective since standard rules set by a hospital or the government should be followed as the local or national requirements.

The combination of both perspectives is likely to advance nursing practice, thus integrating such vital issues as equality, objectivity, holism, and harmonious relationships. In the process of decision-making, the complementary use of both approaches would allow choosing the most suitable solutions that would benefit patients and nurses.

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To conclude, ethic-of-justice and ethic-of-care are often perceived as the opposite ways to ethical dilemmas. They have different approaches to resolving them based on fairness and empathy respectively. It is suggested that the combined use of both perspectives is the best way to improve ARNP nursing practice. The integrated decision-making would ensure that patients are treated equally, and their needs are taken into account.


Buell, J. (2015). Ethical leadership in uncertain times. Healthcare Executive, 30 (3), 30-34.

Whitehead, D., Dittman, P. W., & McNulty, D. (2017). Leadership and the advanced practice nurse: The future of a changing health-care environment. Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis.

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