Teleology lens in Nursing

Teleology lens in Nursing

Teleology, in the simplest term, is a theory that claims that everything has a purpose that is usually useful when applying to results or outcomes. When an individual looks at the outcome, from a teleological lens, he or she can determine what causes compelled that outcome to happen and what role that plays in its perspective contexts (Fitzpatrick, 2017). In addition, it can be used to explain why some actions take place by illustrating situational evidence. In this theory, the means justify the end, which means that the value of an action is determined by its consequences.

One of the major principles in using the teleology lens is that an action must result in the greatest good for the greatest number of people involved in a situation (Grady, Haddad & Rushton, 2018). Using this concept in nursing it means that nurses should make decisions based on the number of people who will benefit from it. Nurses have a mandate to analyze the need for a patient and take care of the patient (Grady, Haddad & Rushton, 2018). The profession comes with a lot of responsibilities and complexities that require making ethical decisions. At the time, during practice, the nurse might defy the request of many people to make the right decision based on practice.

For instance, a patient who is a follower of some religion. The patient requires proper medication for his health, but the family does not want citing a betrayal to their religious beliefs and values. The nurse tries to explain to the family the need for medication, but they tend to be adamant. In such a dilemma, using the teleology lens, the nurse should act in favor of the family because the action makes the majority happy. Therefore, using the lens might jeopardize the life of a patient who deserves to be treated.


Grady, C., Haddad, A., & Rushton, C. (2018). An Alternative Account of Clinical Ethics: Leveraging the Strength of the Health Care Team.

FitzPatrick, W. J. (2017). Teleology and the Norms of Nature. Routledge.

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