The American Nurses Association defines nursing as, “protection, promotion, and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations” (American Nurses Association, 2004, p. 7). My personal nursing philosophy stems from what I believe to be core-nursing characteristics.
These aspects are derived from my personal value system, as well as those demonstrated throughout my academic and clinical careers. My belief system consists of, respect, knowledge, empathy, honesty, advocacy, holism, and, safe practice. Not only are these the fundamentals of clinical practice, but also values to be upheld outside the professional workplace. The concept of knowledge is multifaceted. Not only is it imperative for a nurse to continually add to her knowledge base, but to arm the patient with knowledge as well.
According to Nola Pender’s Health Promotion Model, “patients’ quality of life could be improved by the prevention of problems, and health care dollars could be saved by the promotion of healthy life styles” (2011, Nursing Theory). The model assists nurses in identifying detrimental health behaviors in order to provide a basis for behavioral health counseling for the promotion of a healthy life style. The Health Promotion Model is imperative to providing quality patient care.
Once disadvantageous practices are recognized, the nurse can engage the patient in more positive and or proactive manners to enhance their well-being. As a nurse, it is easy sometimes to focus more intently on the patients’ presenting issue as that is typically on the forefront. However, it is critical to manage not only the presenting issue, but to thoroughly explore all contributing factors and identify injurious practices. Providing the patient with support based on this information is vital to the promotion of holistic care.
In nursing practice, we will experience dilemmas that challenge us ethically and morally. For example, a patient that refuses blood transfusions due to religious practices, the family that insists a victim of rape carry the resulting child to term, or a patient who decides to stop eating. When faced with situations one finds challenging, the best option is to practice with clinical ethics. “Clinical ethics is a practical discipline that provides a structured approach for identifying, analyzing, and resolving ethical issues in clinical practice (Angelucci & Carefoot, 2008, p. 5)
The difficult aspect when faced with an ethical dilemma is to put aside one’s own personal ethics and focus on the patients. When approaching this situation I feel it is important to discuss at length with the patient their personal beliefs or feelings that have lead them to the choice that is causing the struggle. When provided with a clear understanding, I can better determine how to implement the best course of action. It is also helpful to have multiple team members discuss the decision with the patient. This ensures that it is not a communication error between one health care member and a patient.
Having a set of standard principles of practice to reference assists to establish a framework so that all involved can work cohesively. This also aides in putting aside personal convictions to work together with the patient and other health care providers to provide the best possible patient care. Clinical ethics in practice decrease the amount of moral burnout when faced with ethical dilemmas. It can be a very difficult task to put aside your own feelings regarding choices of a patient, especially when it feels that their choice is harming or not allowing us as health care providers to prevent further harm.
What we must always remind ourselves is that attempting to force our personal morals, values, or convictions on a patient can cause harm as well. It is the duty of a nurse to always protect patients’ rights even when they conflict with our own. There are so many different pathways for a nurse. Regardless of the area of practice, ethical dilemmas will be faced on a regular basis. Arming oneself with knowledge is important to assist in navigation through moral and ethical situations.
Examining one’s own personal values and morals helps provide insight into personal convictions and allows for less internal struggle when facing ethical dilemmas. It is one’s duty as a nurse to always keep up with current trends. This is accomplished by partaking in a multidirectional approach to furthering education. Through academic, evidence based practice, clinical practice, and others; I will forever seek opportunities to expand my knowledge base to provide my patients with the best, well-rounded care I am capable of.
Only through this will I continue to grow as a nurse and ensure that I am preserving my beliefs of core nursing characteristics. References Angelucci, P. , & Carefoot, S. (2008). Nursing Ethics: Working through moral anguish. Retrieved from http://www. nursingcenter. com/lnc/journalarticeprint? Article_ID=793594 American Nurses Association, 2001, Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. Washington DC, The Publishing Program of ANA. Nursing Theory, 2001, http://nursing-theory. org/nursing-theorists/Nola-Pender. php