What is relational ethics exactly?


I have been doing my readings, but I just cant seem to grasp fully what it means?

Is it just how we interact with people and how ethics plays into how decisions are made and what we do for patients and family? and how we come with our views and opinions as well as the patients and families have their views and opinions which plays into how we act and make decisions.

sorry I am probably off, but I cant seem to find anything on the internet or my readings to solidify this concept for me

thank you in advance!

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Relational practice: An inquiry that is guided by conscious participation with clients using a number of relational skills including listening, questioning, empathy, mutuality, reciprocity, self-observation, reflection and a sensitivity to emotional contexts. http://renzkieethics.blogspot.com/2013/01/relational-ethics.html

Relational practice encompasses therapeutic nurse client relationships and relationships among health care providers. Relational ethics

illuminate the reality of personal human experiences and the importance of relationships, and help us understand how ethical healthcare is practiced.

The four major themes developed in the book are mutual respect, engagement, embodiment, and environment. Mutual respect is identified as the central theme of a relational ethic. Respect is described as interactive and reciprocal, with an emphasis on respect for and acceptance of difference. In coming to mutual respect, there is a need to be both respectful of others and also respectful of oneself. The theme of engagement implores the cultivation of a sensitivity that promotes authentic connection. True presence, personal responsiveness, and empathy are key components of engagement.

In the theme of embodiment, the feeling body is integrated with the thinking mind. Scientific knowledge and human compassion are given equal status and the importance of emotion and feeling in ethical action is appropriately accredited. The theme of environment expands the concept of the relational space beyond the individual level and explores the web of relations that tie the individual to the health care system, the community, the globe, and the earth.

Two additional themes - freedom and choice, and uncertainty and possibility - are explored in less depth in the text. The authors suggest that the individualistic freedom of liberal philosophy must be linked to responsibility to our larger community. They also contend that the relational space is an ambiguous space without certainty and that this uncertainty can open possibilities and contribute to good outcomes.

For me...it is a bunch of fancy words to convey the same simple principle. Your knowledge and experience to advocate, and care, for your patient using evidence based medicine but considering the patients feelings, family and beliefs. You must establish trust and listen to your patient and consider factors inportant to the patient to ensure the best outcome for your patient.

I am probably way off base here...anyone?


Wave Watcher

Specializes in Community Health/School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

I like pancakes. Sorry, I can't think of anything to add. Already took my Tylenol PM. I will revisit this question in the morning.

Esme12 great job! You took all the fancy words and broke it down Bill Cosby picture page style. (that's a throw back to older folks. I'm one of them). ;-)