Ethics in Care research theme

Our vision for research in the Ethics in Care theme is to illuminate the complexity and significance of ethical care and to identify and develop evidence-based interventions that promote sustainable ethical practices and respond effectively to unethical practice.

Research interests

Ethics and professionalism are integral to health and social care practice and research. Care-givers and care-leaders must respond constructively and effectively to the everyday ethical issues that arise in their practice.

Accountable decisions have to be made regarding, for example, the allocation of scarce resources, information-giving to service-users and families, confidentiality, the consent process and the promotion of person-centred care.

Research and scholarship in ethics necessarily underpins this decision making and research must be underpinned by ethical principles.

Research areas

  • Researching interventions that promote ethics in social care (RIPE project)
  • The relationship between cultural diversity and compassionate care
  • Ethical aspects of professional regulation
  • Developing ethics toolkits to promote dignity in care homes and compassion in the NHS
  • Professionalism in paramedic practice

Common methodologies

  • Philosophical analysis of ethical issues, concepts and theories
  • Delphi process – iterative process to reach consensus on complex ethical questions
  • Qualitative research – grounded theory and thematic analysis
  • Quantitative research – involving measurements of aspects of the moral life (for example, moral sensitivity, empathy, moral stress and ethical leadership)


Ann Gallagher Professor of Ethics and Care, Lead for Ethics in Integrated Healthcare, Director of the International Care Ethics (ICE) Observatory

Recent publications

  • Gallagher A. et al ‘Findings from an Action Research Project Designed to Empower Nurses to Provide Ethical Leadership Supported by a Dignity Toolkit.’ Revised article submitted to International Journal of Older People Nursing]
  • Chadwick R. and Gallagher A. (2016 – in press) Ethics and Nursing Practice (2nd Edition), Palgrave
  • Gallagher A. (2014) ‘Moral Boundaries and Nursing Ethics’ in Kohlen H. et al Marking 20th Anniversary of Joan Tronto’s ‘Moral Boundaries’, Peeters, Leuven
  • Gallagher A. and International Nurses’ End-of-Life Decision-Making in Intensive Care Research Group (2014) Negotiated reorienting: A grounded theory of nurses’ end-of-life decision-making in the intensive care unit International Journal of Nursing Studies

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School of Health Sciences
University of Surrey