Religion, bioethics and nursing practice.


This article calls nursing to engage in the study of religions and identifies six considerations that arise in religious studies and the ways in which religious faith is expressed. It argues that whole-person care cannot be realized, neither can there be a complete understanding of bioethics theory and decision making, without a rigorous understanding of religious-ethical systems. Because religious traditions differ in their cosmology, ontology, epistemology, aesthetic, and ethical methods, and because religious subtraditions interact with specific cultures, each religion and subtradition has something distinctive to offer to ethical discourse. A brief example is drawn from Native American religions, specifically their view of ;speech' and ;words'. Although the example is particular to an American context, it is intended to demonstrate a more general principle that an understanding of religion per se can yield new insights for bioethics.