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In Nursing philosophy : an international journal for healthcare professionals

Nurses have traditionally been regarded as clinicians that deliver compassionate, safe, and empathetic health care (Nurses again outpace other professions for honesty & ethics, 2018). Caring is a fundamental characteristic, expectation, and moral obligation of the nursing and caregiving professions (Nursing: Scope and standards of practice, American Nurses Association, Silver Spring, MD, 2015). Along with caring, nurses are expected to undertake ever-expanding duties and complex tasks. In part because of the growing physical, intellectual and emotional demandingness, of nursing as well as technological advances, artificial intelligence (AI) and AI care robots are rapidly changing the healthcare landscape. As technology becomes more advanced, efficient, and economical, opportunities and pressure to introduce AI into nursing care will only increase. In the first part of the article, we review recent and existing applications of AI in nursing and speculate on future use. Second, situate our project within the recent literature on the ethics of nursing and AI. Third, we explore three dominant theories of caring and the two paradigmatic expressions of caring (touch and presence) and conclude that AI-at least for the foreseeable future-is incapable of caring in the sense central to nursing and caregiving ethics. We conclude that for AI to be implemented ethically, it cannot transgress the core values of nursing, usurp aspects of caring that can only meaningfully be carried out by human beings, and it must support, open, or improve opportunities for nurses to provide the uniquely human aspects of care.

Stokes Felicia, Palmer Amitabha


artificial intelligence, ethics, ethics of caring, nursing, robotics