School of Nursing
virtue ethics, flourishing, phronesis, eudaimonia, holistic, nursing, healthcare
Chu, Abigail, "Virtue Ethics in Nursing: A Review of the Literature" (2023). Senior Honors Theses. 1304.
Human flourishing is at the heart of healthcare. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle proposes virtue ethics, the idea that humans find and fulfill their purpose through flourishing. Virtue ethics posits that an individual flourishes by forming habits that promote excellence (both moral excellence and excellence in skill) while modeling people who possess the ideal traits. Virtue ethics emphasizes eudaimonia or human flourishing as embodying the highest good and an overall state of wellbeing.
The purpose of this integrative literature review is to examine how virtue ethics in nursing can promote human flourishing.
Twenty-nine articles were reviewed for content related to virtue ethics, human flourishing, and nursing theory and practice.
Virtue ethics may be a useful framework for providing nursing care to improve patient wellbeing.
Virtue ethics as a nursing framework may help the nurse to combat burnout, make ethical decisions, and provide holistic person-centered care through phronesis, or practical wisdom. Different tools exist to measure human flourishing. Supporting a patients’ ability to flourish can increase quality of life and improve patient outcomes while decreasing cost and length of stay.