Recently, two Dutch and one Belgium care ethicist published a paper on "The sensible health care professional: a care ethical perspective on the role of caregivers in emotionally turbulent practices" in Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy.
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Vivianne Baur, Inge van Nistelrooij and Linus Vanlaere discuss the challenging context that health care professionals are confronted with, and the impact of this context on their emotional experiences.
Care ethics considers emotions as a valuable source of knowledge for good care. Thinking with care ethical theory and looking through a care ethical lens at a practical case example, the authors discern reflective questions that
- shed light on a care ethical approach toward the role of emotions in care practices, and
- may be used by practitioners and facilitators for care ethical reflection on similar cases, in the particular and concrete context where issues around emotional experiences arise.
The authors emphasize the importance of allowing emotions to exist, to acknowledge them and to not repress them, so that they can serve as a vehicle for ethical behavior in care practices. They stress the difference between acknowledging emotions and expressing them limitlessly.
Formational practices and transformational research practices are being proposed to create moral space in care institutions and to support health care professionals to approach the emotionally turbulent practices they encounter in a way that contributes to good care for all those involved.
Dr. Merel Visse works as senior researcher and associate professor Care Ethics and Policy at the University of Humanistic Studies in The Netherlands. As a scholar and artist, she combines theoretical and practice-based work to inquire about the moral good in care. In addition to regular scientific output such as publications, she also makes publications, installations, objects, drawings, research projects and communities to inquire ‘care’.