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The Ethos of Palliative Nursing 

The Ethos of Palliative Nursing
The Ethos of Palliative Nursing

Mark Lazenby

, and Michael Anthony Moore

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date: 29 July 2021

The moral character of palliative nursing can be defined by the qualities inherent in a caring relationship. Trustworthiness is the quality of being competent, reliable, and honest, all of which guide nurses in building caring relationships with their patients. Imagination aids nurses in identifying creative ways to meet patients’ desires and needs within the confines of illness. Beauty is honoring patients’ humanity and personhood by seeing patients as separate from their illnesses and seeing their aliveness through active listening. In the context of the impersonal medical industrial complex, space is creating and opening physical and spiritual spaces in which patients can still be themselves. Presence is not imposing nurses’ desires upon their patients, nor is presence imposing the impersonality of treating patients as case numbers; it is, rather, being with them as human beings. Through these five qualities of a caring relationship, palliative nurses can help see the humanity of their patients and also the humanity within themselves. The patient-to-nurse relationship is a human-to-human relationship built on trust, imagination, beauty, space, and presence, which leads to honoring the patient and aids patient and nurse in mutual spiritual and emotional growth.

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