Nudging in Nursing
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMortensen AH, Nordhaug MN, Lohne VL. Nudging in Nursing. Nursing Ethics. 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0969733018779226
Nudging is a concept in behavioural science, political theory and economics that proposes indirect suggestions to try to achieve non-forced compliance and to influence the decision-making and behaviour of groups and individuals. Researchers in medical ethics are currently discussing whether nudging is ethically permissible in health care. In this article, we look into current knowledge about how different decisions (rational and pre-rational decisions, major and minor decisions) are made and how this decisionmaking process pertains to patients. We view this knowledge in light of the nursing project and the ongoing debate regarding the ethical legitimacy of nudging in health care. We argue that it is insufficient to discuss nudging in nursing and healthcare in light of free will and patient autonomy alone. Sometimes, nurses must take charge and exhibit leadership in the nurse-patient relationship. From the perspective of nursing as leadership, nudging becomes a useful tool for directing and guiding patients towards the shared goals of health, recovery and independence and away from suffering. The use of nudging in nursing to influence patients’ decisions and actions must be in alignment with the nursing project and in accordance with patients’ own values and goals.