The development of nursing ethics as a field of inquiry has largely paralleled developments within the field of biomedical ethics. However, there is growing evidence that the development of a theory of nursing ethics might not necessarily follow a similar pattern. The value foundations of nursing ethics are derived from the nature of the nurse—patient relationship instead of from models of patient good, rights-based notions of autonomy, or the social contract of professional practice as articulated in prominent theories of medical ethics. The value foundations of nursing are analyzed, and a moral-point-of-view theory with caring as a fundamental value is proposed for the development of a theory of nursing ethics.
© 1989 Aspen Publishers, Inc.