Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This presentation is part of : Strategies for Women's Health Issues
From Monolithic to Trilogical Equality: Equality in Nursing Ethics Research
Mari Lahtinen, RN, MNSc, Department of nursing science and Health administration, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, Finland
Learning Objective #1: The learner will be able to understand defining and categorising of equality as a value of nursing ethics research.
Learning Objective #2: The learner will be able to have point of view of equality as a value from perspective of feminist moral philosophy.

The aim of the study was define and categorise the concept of equality as a value of nursing ethics research. The goal of the study was to acquire tools that would help to understand the background, meaning and possibilities of the concept of equality in nursing ethics research.

The research was positioned in conceptual basic study and it followed a philosophical approach, which consisted of problematisation, explication and argumentation. During problematisation, this study characterised the concept of equality in previous nursing ethics research as monolithical liberalistic-individualistic privilegisation. Here, monolithical meant that in previous nursing ethics research, equality had been a key value that was argued through classical but fairly uniformly interpreted theoretical starting points. Liberalistic-individualistic privilegisation manifested itself as emphasising the individual, emphasising the community and as internal conflict of the concept in terms of practical nursing.

The theoretical frame of reference of the study, based on feminist moral philosophy, was defined during explication. It viewed equality as a changing and evolving ethical value, depicting interrelations between people in different relationships. In this study, equality was described using the concept of trilogical equality. This means that equality in nursing ethics research calls for taking into account three dimensions defining equality, i.e. the concepts of difference, dependence and power. As a world order principle, difference meant diversity, in which it is significant and valuable in itself. Understanding differences lead to acknowledging the difference and the resulting dependence between individuals or groups. Through redefinition of difference and dependence, power obtained its new meanings, where focus was given to the asymmetry and lack of dominance connected with it. During argumentation, the concept of trilogical equality brought a range of concepts into the study of equality within nursing ethics research, through which the practical encounter of nursing and health care could be approached.