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Theory Selection and Critical Analysis

Theory Selection and Critical Analysis

Sample Answer 

Theory Selection and Critical Analysis

Privacy and confidentiality are basic human rights, regardless of the context. All healthcare professionals have a legal and ethical obligation to protect a patient’s health information during care delivery. Often, nurses and patients find themselves in legal battles resulting from intentional or accidental breaches of patients’ privacy and confidentiality principles. Nursing practice requires nurses to make ethical decisions in which there is no clear cut between the choices available. In the quest to protect patients’ life and dignity, confidentiality breaches result in a bad nurse-patient relationship and poor health outcomes. The confidentiality ethical dilemmas arise due to the patient’s lack of knowledge and experience in handling ethical dilemmas in addition to a lack of exposure to diverse ethical situations and perspectives to solve dilemmas. Nurses spend a lot of time with patients and hence have a moral responsibility to educate patients on ethical dilemmas to fill the knowledge deficit and promote ethical nursing. The purpose of this paper is to explore and analyze the Kantian moral theory as a suitable framework for informing and directing the solving of ethical dilemmas resulting from patient confidentiality issues.

Description of the Theory

            Kant’s Moral Theory is not a nursing theory but is widely borrowed in nursing practice to inform ethical decision-making where there is no clear choice. The theory was proposed by a German philosopher Emmanuel Kant who lived between 1724 and 1804. Kant used reason to determine what is wrong and what is right. The Kantian Moral theory postulates that the rightness and wrongness of our acts do not depend on the consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty (Reynolds & Bowie, 2004). There is no choice that is 100% right or 100% wrong. Kant’s analysis of morality makes it possible to determine with greater precision the wrongness and rightness of a nursing decision. Nurses have an imperative duty of care to the patient; to protect human life and promote human dignity (Demirsoy & Kirimlioglu, 2016). As argued by Househ et al (2018), healthcare practitioners must respect the patient’s privacy and confidentiality up to where health needs demand disclosure. The patients’ privacy and confidentiality rights should not prevent nurses’ imperative duty to protect and respect human life.

Purpose of the Theory

The Kantian moral theory provides a helpful perspective for nurses and other healthcare professionals in solving moral dilemmas. Although it is not a nursing theory, Kantian moral theory forms a comprehensive model for training nursing knowledge, precisely in patients’ privacy and confidentiality rights. Ideally, this theory focuses on the morality of nurses’ actions when executing their primary duty of care to the patient. In this sense, the theory adopts an ethical approach to confidentiality issues that have been on the increase in the advent of the digital era. By establishing the morality of actions, the theory focuses on future actions that may present ethical dilemmas by informing the nurse and the patient on the best choice to promote a healthy nurse-patient relationship and positive health outcomes.

The Concepts of the Theory

            The Kantian moral theory presents an excellent linkage in the fundamental concepts of nursing to form a proactive framework for teaching nursing leadership and decision-making. Disclosure of patient information may have negative emotional impacts. Besides, overemphasis on patient confidentiality rights may impede nurses from delivering quality care. According to Mantzorou & Mastrogiannis (2011), the nursing profession operates under strict legal and professional codes that must be adhered to to promote holistic patient care. Since the thumb rule does not apply in ethical decision-making, Kantian moral theory offers experience and exposure to nurses and patients on the best choice in medical practice. Therefore, the proposed actions in ways of knowing are based on the ability of nurses and patients to mutually agree on ethical actions while prioritizing patients’ health outcomes.

The Definitions in the Theory

            The theory defines the principle of morality as the categorical imperatives that determine and inform our moral duty. From this standpoint, the morality of our actions is based on the categorical imperative that commands us on what to do, and we cannot opt out or claim their non-existence. In nursing practice, and arguing from the Kantian viewpoint, Demirsoy & Kirimlioglu (2016) argue that we can imply that nurses’ duty to protect and respect human life is a guiding moral principle. According to Househ et al. (2018), nurses’ actions primarily directed to fulfill nurses’ moral duty of care are deemed ethical regardless of the consequences. A breach of a patient’s privacy and confidentiality rights committed in good faith to protect and preserve life achieves a nurse’s moral duty to the patient, hence morally tight.

The Relationships in the Theory

            When the Kantian moral theory is applied to the nursing way of knowing, it presents a complex web of connections between and among concepts. The nurse-patient relationship presents a scenario demonstrating each party’s moral duties. Nurses actively take part in promoting good health outcomes alongside respecting patient rights and professional codes of ethics (Erickson & Millar, 2005). Ethical decisions are a crucial part of holistic care delivery. Patients also take part in their medication process through their emotional and physical responses to nurses’ care. The theory shows how understanding moral duties creates a suitable environment for quality holistic and patient-centered care.

Structure of the Theory

            When applied in nursing practice, particularly in ethical decision-making, the theory adopts a creative and flexible structure to give a pragmatic view of situations. To establish the morality of an action, the theory focuses on intentions and duty rather than consequences. In clinical practice, Vernon, Concannon & Vernon (2015) point out the paramountcy of articulating conflicting perspectives on morally complex issues in pursuit of quality care. The Kantian moral theory involves all parties in ethical situations providing limitations where patients’ ethical rights stop to pave the way for the primary duty of protecting human life. The disclosure of patient health information is not influenced by personal interest but by moral duty.

Assumptions in the Theory

The Kantian notion of categorical imperative assumes that abstractness, universality, and necessity have no legitimate basis in humans’ experiences (Reynolds & Bowie, 2004). We all have a duty to respect the humanity in others. Since human beings are proven rational creatures, we are bound by a universal moral law that compels us to act rationally. Also, Kant’s argument on moral theory assumes that goodwill and moral duty are unconditionally good. To determine the goodness in an act, its goodness must be traceable to something that is unconditionally good. In this sense, the morality of actions is dependent on the goodwill and desire to execute our moral duty (Reynolds & Bowie, 2004). These assumptions open wider perceptions in clinical practice, guiding healthcare professionals to take action and make decisions geared to the primary ethical duty; to protect and respect human life.

Application to Professional Practice

The theory offers a comprehensive conceptual framework for informing and evaluating the morality of actions and decisions in clinical practice. It forms a foundational insight for guiding ethical nursing education and practice. Besides, the moral theory informs and sets the reference for nursing actions that may need moral assessment. Most importantly, the Kantian moral theory presents a flexible but pragmatic view of ethical dilemmas that nurses may utilize to educate patients on approaches to ethical issues. Also, it presents useful guidelines for nurses-patient relationships and limits patient confidentiality rights, ultimately preventing unnecessary disputes.


            Kant’s moral theory is undoubtedly essential in nursing practice because it presents a flexible and practical approach to understanding and solving ethical issues. It places a duty on both the nurses and the patient to help navigate a common ground when ethical dilemmas arise. The theory also documents goodwill and primary duty principles that guide moral actions. To avoid and reduce incidences of ethical breaches, nurses’ actions must be guided by goodwill and a desire to fulfill the moral obligation of protecting and respecting human life. Under the guidance of moral theory, healthcare professionals develop confidence and competence in taking action and making decisions that facilitate good health outcomes. Finally, informing and educating patients about diverse ethical scenarios make them understand the moral logic behind inevitable confidentiality breaches.


Bauer, K. A. (2009). Privacy and Confidentiality in the Age of E-Medicine. J. Health Care L. & Pol’y12, 47.

Demirsoy, N., & Kirimlioglu, N. (2016). Protection of privacy and confidentiality as a patient right: physicians’ and nurses’ viewpoints. Biomedical Research. Volume 27 Issue 4.

Erickson, J., & Millar, S. (2005). Caring for patients while respecting their privacy: Renewing our commitment. Online journal of issues in nursing10(2).

Househ, M., Grainger, R., Petersen, C., Bamidis, P., & Merolli, M. (2018). Balancing between privacy and patient needs for health information in the age of participatory health and social media: a scoping review. Yearbook of medical informatics27(01), 029-036.

Mantzorou, M., & Mastrogiannis, D. (2011). The value and significance of knowing the patient for professional practice, according to the Carper’s Patterns of Knowing. Health Science         Journal5(4), 251.

Reynolds, S., & Bowie, N. (2004). A Kantian Perspective on the Characteristics of Ethics  Programs. Business Ethics Quarterly, 14(2), 275-292. Retrieved March 26, 2020, from

Vernon, R., Concannon, M., & Vernon, W. (2015). Confidentiality and patient autonomy in a healthcare framework. Podiatry Now18(11).


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Theory Selection and Critical Analysis

For this assignment you will explore, identify, and critically analyze, a theory that could be used as a framework for directing the future actions you identified in the Ways of Knowing assignment.  In addition, you will professionally reflect on your critical analysis and describe how exposure to a theory may lead an individual to think differently about their own experience, professional role, and future directions of their work.  Note:  The content of this assignment could serve as draft for a discussion related to ”Theory” in Chapter 3 of the final capstone document.    This is a nursing paper. Professional role is as a NURSE OR NURSE PRACTITIONER.

Theory Selection and Critical Analysis

Theory Selection and Critical Analysis

Assignment Guidelines:

To begin this assignment you will first select a theory.  The theory can be either borrowed or from the discipline of nursing.  After you select the theory, you will address each of the items below in a written scholarly paper.  The items reflect the processes involved in forming a complete description of a theory as discussed in Chapter 8 of Chinn and Kramer.

  1. Begin this assignment with an introduction. The introduction should include a discussion that provides:
  • A brief succinct overview of the professional experience and future actions discussed in the Ways of Knowing
  • A statement that explains the purpose of the assignment (e.g., The purpose of this assignment is to……).
  1. After your introduction, discuss the following content using appropriate APA level headings:
  • Description of the Theory – Provide the name of the theory. Identify if the theory is borrowed, or if from the discipline of nursing.  Then, identify the author of the theory, and the date the theory was established. Utilize primary rather than secondary resources.
  • Purpose of the Theory – Provide a descriptive summary of the purpose of the theory. In your summary specifically speak to the context and situations in which the theory is useful.  In your summary clearly identify how the purpose of this theory is linked to the future actions you identified in the Ways of Knowing
  • Concepts of the Theory – Provide a descriptive summary of the concepts (words or groups of words that represent objects, properties, and / or events) within the theory. In your summary clearly identify how the concepts are linked to the future actions you identified in the Ways of Knowing assignment.
  • Definitions in the TheoryProvide a clear definition for each concept that was identified. The definitions should be presented in conceptual terms within the context of the theory.
  • Relationships in the Theory – Provide a descriptive summary of the linkages among and between the concepts associated with the theory.
  • Structure of the TheoryProvide a clear description of the structure of the theory (choose from one of the examples on pg 195 of Chinn and Kramer). In your description clearly identify how you arrived at your conclusion.
  • Assumptions in the Theory – Provide a clear description of the assumptions associated with the theory. In your description clearly identify if the assumptions are factual assumptions or value assumptions.  Also in your description clearly speak to how the exposure to differing assumptions may open new perceptions with regards to going “outside of the box” of common practice and procedures.
  • Application to Professional Practice – Provide a descriptive summary your critical analysis findings. In your summary thoroughly discuss the application of the theory in terms of providing guidance for the future actions identified in the Ways of Knowing
  1. End your paper with a conclusion. The conclusion should present a brief summary of the key takeaway points of the paper.  The conclusion should not present any new information.

Scholarly Writing Guidelines:

  1. Grammar, spelling, and APA writing style will be graded according to doctoral level expectations. Please proofread carefully.
  2. Your paper should be double-spaced with one inch margins, and include:
    1. A title page and a reference page (Note: all in-text citations and sources listed on the reference page should be according to APA 6th edition).
    2. Times New Roman 12 pt font throughout entire document.
    3. Page numbers.
    4. A running head.
    5. APA 6th edition formatted subject level headings.

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