Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

The therapeutic value of ethics, justice, and art: reimagining nurses’ experiences in a surreal world (#68)

Megan-Jane Johnstone AO 1
  1. Retired Professor of Nursing, Independent Scholar, and Visual Artist, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The COVID pandemic and other world events such as climate change, war, and the global economic downturn have placed unimaginable pressure on the nursing profession, such that many nurses have contemplated leaving the profession, or have already left it with no intention of returning.  A range of strategies have been devised in an attempt to assist nurses manage the negative impact of the chaotic and surreal world in which they find themselves – including conventional mental health support. One approach that has not been considered and which warrants attention involves embracing the therapeutic value of ethics, justice, and art. However, just how these processes might assist nurses assuage their distress during and after difficult times and to ‘find a philosophical interpretation of themselves and their situations that they can live with’ is an open question. In this paper brief attention will be given to the questions:

  • What is the therapeutic value of ethics, justice, and art?
  • How does the relationship between the ethics, justice, and art function to promote health and wellbeing?
  • In what ways might the synergy between ethics, justice, and art contribute to nurses’ health and wellbeing?

It will be suggested that ethics, justice and art have a significant role to play in fostering the health and wellbeing of nurses. It does this by providing the scaffolding upon which nurses can develop their own morally wise thinking, maintain their moral integrity when facing quandaries in their professional practice, improve their ethical decision-making capacity and, on the basis of these things, reimagine themselves as morally engaged beings capable of ‘finding meaning’ and surmounting the obstacles they encounter in the course of their everyday working lives.