Courage is a virtue that is necessary to the conscientious practice of all healthcare providers. This is neither a new nor an original idea. Others have written about the importance of virtues in medicine1,2 or have focused on courage in particular as a willingness to adhere to the obligations inherent in professional practice.3 In the current healthcare climate, it is not a simple thing to know and stand up for one’s professional obligations. There are duties that seem always to be in conflict, and the weighing of benefit and harm to all involved is complex and fraught with ambiguity.

In this column I will explore the idea of courage as a virtue that supports the goods internal to the practice of nursing, discussing the ways certain features of the hospital environment introduce threats to good...

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