An ethical framework for developing and sustaining a healthy workplace

Catherine Robichaux, Mickey L. Parsons

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    11 Scopus citations


    Acute and critical care nurses provide care that is intellectually challenging and physically demanding in environments that are often characterized by ethical concerns and dilemmas. As complex adaptive systems, these environments include nurses, physicians, social workers, chaplains, case managers, and administrators who interact together in situations of tremendous uncertainty and frequently in the face of professional or social disagreement about patient/family care, processes, and outcomes. Nurses' ability to identify and resolve concerns in such situations as part of a collaborative ethical climate is a significant retention factor and a hallmark of a healthy workplace. The purpose of this article is to describe a pluralist ethical framework that evolved from the formation of a healthy workplace and that may be integrated to sustain an ethical climate. Discussion of development of a healthy workplace employing participatory action research will be followed by a description of ethical theories supporting the framework and their relevance to creating and sustaining a healthy workplace and ethical practice environment. Finally, specific application examples of the ethical framework from nursing units' staff participatory action research studies will be presented.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)199-207
    Number of pages9
    JournalCritical Care Nursing Quarterly
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


    • Action research
    • Ethics
    • Healthy workplace

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Critical Care


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