Community, culture and character: The place of the virtues in psychiatric nursing practice

A. McKie*, J. Swinton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the authors address the serious neglect of the 'classical' virtues in ethical reflection upon mental health nursing. The virtues are offered as a possible alternative paradigm for mental health nursing in its search for new models and approaches. Embodied in the notion of a moral community, the virtues have important implications in addressing problems adherent in various 'dualisms' so described. By invoking the concepts of practical wisdom and praxis, the interrelationship between theory and practice, action and reflection and self and community, is shown. The contextual nature of the virtues is shown in a number of examples and their potential for the transformation of practice is shown. The opportunity is now present for mental health nursing to strengthen its basis for practice by distancing itself from scientific models. In so doing, it can embrace an approach which is consensual and contextual and which places ethical reflection at the centre of practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Character
  • Community
  • Context
  • Practical wisdom
  • Praxis
  • Virtues


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