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Credit: Laura James on Pexels

Photo by Laura James on Pexels

Exeter to host international conference on ethical challenges in care during COVID-19

An international conference will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the complex ethical issues encountered by nurses and other care-givers during the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted for the first time by the University of Exeter and including a prestigious award ceremony.

The 21st International Nursing Ethics Conference and the 6th International Care Ethics Conference will take place online on 2nd and 3rd September. The event will focus on ethical responses to the challenges that the pandemic has posed to nurses, doctors and other care-givers in health and social care, locally and internationally.

This could mean managing scarce resources such as staff, personal protective equipment, ventilators and hospital beds, and negotiating caring relationships with patients, care home residents and families under extremely challenging circumstances. At the same time, it’s become more evident that the well-being of care-givers must be supported when they are working in distressing situations where their own health is at risk.

Prominent speakers at the conference include Professor Ross Upshur (University of Toronto, Canada), Professor Rueben Warren (National Centre for Bioethics in Health and Research at the Tuskegee University, USA), Professor Sarah Banks (Co-Director Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University), and Professor David Richards and Professor G.J. Melendez-Torres from the University of Exeter.

A highlight of the conference will be the presentation of the Human Rights and Nursing Awards, which are presented to exemplary nurses each year, to celebrate their outstanding commitment and work to promote human rights. They aim to give nurses visibility and celebrate those whose work fosters international respect for human rights and dignity of people everywhere in the world.

Ann Gallagher, Professor of Care Education, Ethics & Research and Head of Nursing at the University of Exeter, said: “Colleagues in health and social care – locally and globally - have encountered some of the most profound ethical challenges during the pandemic, which have contributed to much suffering and moral distress. Our conference brings together leading experts in care ethics and local care-providers. Our aim is to share learning regarding helpful and creative responses to ethical challenges that will enable us to improve the experiences of care-givers, care-recipients, families and communities during this and future pandemics. I very much hope you can join us to engage in this important and timely conversation.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the conference will take place online. Participation is free of charge and practitioners, researchers, educators, managers and students in the field of health and social care from around the world are invited to sign up at

The conference is organised by the University of Exeter’s Academy of Nursing in collaboration with the international Editorial Board of the journal Nursing Ethics.

For updates on the conference, please follow #COVIDEthicsExeter.

Date: 19 August 2021

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