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Duty of care

Peter Ellis - Independent Nursing, Health and Social Care Consultant, Writer and Educator Hannah Ellis - Senior Paralegal Coordinator First published: Last updated:

While the term ‘duty of care’ is not exclusive to health and social care professionals, in the nursing context, this identifies the nurse’s duty by way of care and support to patients in healthcare settings. The duty which nurses hold towards their patients, and arguably other members of society, arises in a variety of forms and responsibilities (Dowie, 2017).

This article discusses the concept of duty of care in the nursing context, its origins and implications for nursing practice.

This article is part of a series on nursing ethics. This article provides an overview of the role of ‘duty of care’ in nursing practice and should not be used as a legal guide.

What is duty?

Duty refers to an obligation someone has towards someone else. Duties operate in different ways, depending on the context and the nature of the obligation being fulfilled (Ellis and Ellis, 2021).

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Peter Ellis

Hannah Ellis

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