Ethical Perspectives on Pain and Suffering

Betty Ferrell, PhD, FAAN


Pain Manag Nurs. 2005;6(3):83-90. 

In This Article

Narrative Ethics

Feminist ethicists recognize the importance of the individual's story and life experience in understanding the phenomenon in its wholeness. Feminist scholars contend that we learn not only from quantitative, objective data, but rather we learn through an appreciation of the story or narrative of one. Across the past 20 years of my work as a nurse researcher in the areas of pain and palliative care, I have had the opportunity to apply the narrative approach through interviews of individual patients, family caregivers, and nurses, as well as through focus groups and my own clinical practice as a hospice volunteer and by interacting with patients across my clinical studies. I have reviewed the publications that have been based on these clinical experiences and studied the narratives to try to synthesize a composite narrative for each of these three key perspectives in pain management. The composite narratives based on these stories will be presented in the analysis of these concepts.


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