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The role of experience, narrative, and community in skilled ethical comportment.

Benner, Patricia RN, PhD, FAAN
Advances in Nursing Science: December 1991

Two major types of narrative-constitutive or sustaining narratives and narratives of learning-are presented to illustrate the functions of narrative in everyday ethical expertise and socially embedded caring practices. Four narrative themes illustrate constitutive and sustaining narratives: healing and transcendence, the heroic saving of a life, fostering care and correction, and stories of being present. Five themes illustrate narratives of learning: the skill of involvement, being open to experience, disillusionment, facing death and suffering, and liberation. Quandary- and rights-based procedural ethics address ethical problems and breakdown and overlook everyday ethical comportment. Public storytelling is recommended as a way to explore notions of the good and ethical concerns.

(C) 1991 Aspen Publishers, Inc.