Jonathan Miles Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy, recently published an article entitled “Taking Patient Virtue Seriously.”  The article is another attempt to expand the discussion of virtue ethics in health care from the virtues of good nurses and doctors to the virtues of good patients. The project started with a question from nursing students in Miles’ bioethics course: What makes a good patient and how do health care institutions encourage and cultivate them?

“The article title implies that the medical community has yet to take patient virtue theory seriously. If it did, the virtues of a good patient would occupy the same status as the virtues of a good physician or a good nurse,” said Miles. “The recent trend toward patient self-management and the public health emphasis on self-care and patient responsibility, however, mean that bioethics must broaden its concerns to encompass the patient as well as the clinician.”

The article was published in Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics is an international forum for interdisciplinary studies in the ethics of health care and in the philosophy and methodology of medical practice and biomedical research.

Miles primarily teaches applied ethics (business ethics, bioethics, and punishment ethics). His research in moral and political philosophy centers around virtue theory applied to varied topics including freedom of speech and patient responsibilities in healthcare. Miles serves on the ethics committee of both Blessing Hospital and the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

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