Skip Navigation LinksHome > April/June 2007 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 > Respect in Critical Care: A Foundational Ethical Principle
AACN Advanced Critical Care:
doi: 10.1097/01.AACN.0000269258.14418.1e
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Respect in Critical Care: A Foundational Ethical Principle

Rushton, Cynda Hylton PhD, RN, FAAN

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Abstract

Demonstrating respect is the hallmark of excellence in caring for critically ill patients and their families. Understanding the meaning of respect and the strategies that foster it are foundational for nurses as interdisciplinary healthcare professionals. Basically, respect is the act of esteeming another. Demonstrated by word and deed, it is fostered by attending to the whole person by involving the patient and family in decision making, providing family-centered care, bearing witness, and adopting a broader perspective marked by cultural humility. By creating processes that ensure everyone's views are heard, healthcare professionals as well as patients and their families are supported. One key process, known as the “Council Process,” shifts dialogue from telling to discovering, from judging to inquiring; it neutralizes conjecture, fosters the acceptance of moral conflict, and protects the integrity of healthcare professionals and their organizations. Acknowledging respect as a foundational ethical principle is the first step toward relationally rich healthcare environments for patients, families, and professionals.

© 2007 American Association of Critical–Care Nurses

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