Tidsskrift for Omsorgsforskning (Jan 2024)

Rational and Compassionate Care: The Good Samaritan in Norwegian Nursing Ethics

  • Gunnar Magnus Eidsvåg,
  • Alessandro Falcetta

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 3
pp. 1 – 11


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This article examines how the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is used and can be used in Norwegian discussions about a modern healthcare system. Our analysis is in two main parts. First, we study the interpretations of two leading philosophers, Kari Martinsen and Tove Pettersen. Martinsenʼs approach is phenomenological and influenced by the Christian current within Norwayʼs nursing history. Pettersenʼs approach is closer to the feminist tradition of the ethics of care. According to Martinsen, the Samaritanʼs compassionate actions exemplify the moral commitment and attitude nurses should have towards their patients. To Pettersen the parable represents a kind of care that is misguided in modern healthcare. Second, we read these interpretations in the light of an analysis of the parable informed by biblical scholarship. Our conclusion is that Martinsen and Pettersen at times provide too narrow an interpretation of the parable of the Good Samaritan and that the parable in many respects supports the points of views of both philosophers.