Ethical challenges in delivering person-centred care
Intended for healthcare professionals

Ethical challenges in delivering person-centred care

Bob Price Independent Health Services Training Consultant, Camberley, England

Why you should read this article
  • To understand the difference between normative ethics and teleological ethics, and how they are applied in everyday care situations

  • To enhance your knowledge on ethics derived from the principles of person-centred care

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Nurses working across community and primary care settings face a number of ethical issues in their everyday work. Ethical principles underpin optimal practice. There are two main approaches to ethical reasoning: normative ethics, based on the rights and obligations of an individual; and teleological ethics, based on anticipating the consequences of an action. Issues can arise when ethical principles based on the obligations of the nurse or an analysis of the possible consequences of an action are applied to care. Nurses have to manage patients’ expectations, service protocols and economic constraints, as well as proceed in a person-centred and ethical way.

This article explains the two main approaches to ethical reasoning, before identifying their limits and proposing some person-centred principles of care negotiation that will enable nurses to provide care that is principled and practical.

Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2020.e1597

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Price B (2020) Ethical challenges in delivering person-centred care. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2020.e1597

Published online: 26 February 2020

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