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autonomy, freedom, health care practice, independence, moral autonomy



  1. Scott, P. Anne PhD, MSc, BA, RGN


The structures and contexts within which nurses work results in the moral agency and moral autonomy of the nurse being compromised.This claim results from a confusion of (1) the concept of autonomy with those of freedom and independence; and (2) a confusion of the notion of moral autonomy with that of autonomous professional practice. The drawing of appropriate distinctions allows clarification of the relevant concepts. It also underlines the responsibility of practitioners to recognize the moral dimension of their practice, and the moral implications of their actions, as they attempt to meet the health care needs of their patients and develop practice professionally.