Moral courage - Dante Alighieri– Aristotle And Nursing moral practice

Sala Defilippis, Tiziana and Cerutti, Davide (2019) Moral courage - Dante Alighieri– Aristotle And Nursing moral practice. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Recently, in Southern Switzerland, a nurse was arrested as he is suspected of physically and verbally abusing patients in his care and of ending the life of terminally ill patients (Corriere del Ticino, 2019). The nurse had been working on the same ward for more than 20 years. The investigation was started by a report made by a nursing student. Some of the colleagues of the arrested nurse were astonished while others whispered that they were aware that something was wrong with this nurse without specify what was exactly wrong. The investigation is ongoing and the nurse has not been convicted. It could be said that this would not be the first case of misconduct of a healthcare professional as demonstrated in the literature review offered by Yorker et al. (2006). The question arises is why other nurses do not report misconduct though the Cantonal Law for Healthcare Professionals (Legge Sanitaria Act 1986, Art. 68) clearly indicates that healthcare professionals who assist to crime must report it to the Criminal Office. Failing to report leads to persecution. Among several options lack of courage could be an answer. Therefore, this presentation will focus on moral courage and its importance among healthcare professionals. Courage is an ethical virtue in the view of Aristotle. Aristotle identified cowardice and being pusillanimous as vices related to courage. Aristotle partially inspired Dante and his Divine Comedy, where he emphasised the importance of courage and clearly condemned persons who were pusillanimous. The Divine Comedy represents an allegory of human beings’ soul appetites and the way for its salvation. Regardless from the theological important component of the Comedy, Dante is still modern in illustrating us the possible drift of humans’ souls. This presentation aims at offering a deep understanding of the virtue of moral courage and its vices through the help of Dante’s Divine Comedy and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. This deep understanding could potentially represent the first step for recognising its importance in nursing practice.

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