I challenge my students on every clinical visit to learn everything possible through observation and interaction with fellow nurses and supervisors. Nurses, new and old, can appreciate and assimilate positive behaviors and styles that we encounter. Thankfully nurses can also decide how to never behave after witnessing or reading about others' actions with patients.
As a clinical instructor, I carefully observe my students' demeanor and style on the unit. I am actively looking for implementation of The Golden Rule - in every opportunity presented to advocate on behalf of the patients.
My students enter their behavioral health rotation - identifying their anxiety levels, which range from panic / fear to excitement / mildly anxious. I've discovered that nursing has room for all personalities - shy, soft-spoken, funny, engaging, etc.- as long as the patient comes first. I've witnessed joyful moments - when the most reserved students discover their voice when supporting, encouraging, even fighting for their patients. These are beautiful opportunities for the students to gain confidence and belief that they've chosen a profession that thrives on patient - centered care.
Nurses are expected to display Moral Behavior. This requires serious critical thinking about how to treat / advocate for their patients. Traits such as respect, compassion, caring and sensitivity are golden in nursing students - as these traits are more inherent than taught.
Nurses have a responsibility to uphold Ethical Principles in all decisions about patients and actions performed as a licensed nurse - as detailed in the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses.
Plainly stated, all nurses have the right to 'think' anything they choose, yet all nurses have a moral responsibility to practice the same ethical behaviors, including...
❣ Autonomy ~ a right for all rational beings to determine their destiny (or appoint another when incapable of making choices)
❣ Beneficence ~ a duty to help, benefit or promote the health, coping, good of others
❣ Nonmaleficence ~ "Do no Harm" to any patient, including physical, emotional, spiritual, financial...
❣ Justice ~ a responsibility to treat everyone equally, regardless of economics, medical condition, race, religion, sex
❣ Veracity ~ a duty to be truthful, including diagnosis, treatment options, prognosis
From thirty years ago to present day, I can imagine behaving in no other way as a nurse - actually, as a person.
Here, I’ll share an email from my friend and writing colleague, Vicki Warner of WarnerWords, who lives in the beautiful surrounds of Sechelt, BC. Please take a moment to read the article via the link in the title, especially if you are a former student or practicing nurse:
I'm sending this to you because I thought it might be useful info for one of your classes.
B.C. nurse loses her job after assuming power of attorney and taking elderly woman's coin collection
Image via Bill Kasman of Pixabay. Click here to view his gallery.
On the contrary, I have encountered and worked with hundreds of nurses over my career that clearly upheld my 'first and foremost' condition of excellence: 'I would choose this nurse to take care of me (or someone I love)'.
Should there come a day when you, as a nurse, cannot apply the Golden Rule, I urge you to immediately re-think your career choice, at least temporarily. If your situation is personal (family, marital, etc), you may need to take a leave of absence until the personal matters are resolved / in decent control.
In moments of clarity, should you realize the patients are not your priority, it's time for a more permanent transfer or change.
At the end of every day, I love being a nurse - whether directly or indirectly through teaching my students to enhance and express their kindness genes. I consider myself grateful and blessed to still love my work and the people I encounter.
Thanks for sharing this painful example and reminder, dear Vicki, of 'how not to behave' with those patients who rely on and trust us so completely. Thanks to my readers for sharing with your circles as well.
Until next week, sending you kindness and self-compassion,
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