Professional values are the foundation for practice; they guide interactions with client, colleagues, other professionals, and the public, by providing the framework for commitment to the Welfare of others. They are also belief or ideas to which an individual is committed and which are reflected in patterns of behavior. Institute of medicine (2000). In this article, I will define Altruism, Autonomy, Human Dignity, Integrity, and Social Justice.
I will also identify how these values are demonstrated in our every day lives by other nurses and myself. According to Dougherty (1992) “Altruism is a concern for the welfare and well being of others. It includes personal qualities such as caring, compassion, generosity and it can be reflected in expressing concern about social trends and issues that have implications for health care”. It’s a Term that refers to doing good deeds and service work for others out of the goodness of your heart. Nurses demonstrate this value by being the patient’s advocate, especially when they are most vulnerable.
The values are of giving quality nursing care, demonstrating understanding of their different Cultures, beliefs and perspective of others. By being respectful, listening, understanding, trustworthy, and developing a good nurse-patient relationship. I demonstrate the value of altruism with my patient by being truthful and answering their question honestly. I provide quality nursing care to my entire patient in a professional manner talking and listening, showing kindness and empathy, respect and confidence in what I do or say.
Autonomy is the freedom to act on what you know, to make responsible, independent decisions in the nursing practice. It is the power to perform or take charge of a situation for the benefit of the patient. It includes skills such as administering narcotics, doing EKG, giving a breathing treatment or giving some oxygen in an emergency without a medication orders. Nurses demonstrate the value of autonomy by acting on their own intuition daily to improve the quality of all aspects of human life. This is evident when a patient arrives into an urgent care center with an asthma attack.
A prudent nurse will act autonomously by giving the patient a nebulizer treatment, place him on oxygen, or take the time to find out if there are standing orders and carry them out without a doctor’s order. I demonstrate this value on a daily basis in my work place, which is at an urgent care center. An example would be a patient comes into the clinic with complain of chest pain. I will first put the patient in observation with monitor attached, give O2, assess, and do an EKG, and then I will give a report to the doctor with detailed information of the problem and what was done.
Human dignity includes personal qualities such as consideration, empathy, human kindness, respect and trust. It can be reflected in safeguarding the individual’s right of privacy, and treating others with respect, regardless of background. According to Yancey (1997) “It is respect for the inherent worth of and uniqueness of individuals and populations in professional practice, human dignity is reflected when the health care professional values and respects all clients and colleagues”. Nurses demonstrate this value by protecting the client’s privacy.
Designs care with sensitivity to individual client’s needs. Provides competent and sensitive care according to there culture and by preserving the confidentially of clients and health care providers. I demonstrate this value by providing privacy, being sensitive to the client’s needs, listening, and being empathic and offering kindness. I also am polite, understanding and culturally aware. Integrity is acting in accordance with an appropriate code of ethics and accepted standards of practice.
Integrity is reflected in professional practice when the nurse or health care professional is honest and provides care based on an ethical framework that is accepted within the profession. Nurses demonstrate this value by providing honest answers and information to client and the public; documenting care accurately and truthfully. Seek and remedy errors made by self or others and demonstrate accountability for own actions and those of other health care team members. I demonstrate this value by being honest, caring and trustworthy.
I show empathy and speak to clients respectfully. I make sure to establish and maintain a healthy working relationship with clients and within the interdisciplinary team. I delegate task, advocate for my patients and maintain the standard of nursing practice. Social Justice is upholding moral, legal, and humanistic principles. This value is reflected in professional practice when health care provides work to assure equal treatment under the law and equal access to qualify health care.
Social justice also includes personal qualities such as courage, integrity, objectivity and it can be reflected in acting as a health care advocate. Nurses demonstrate this value by showing support and nondiscrimination in the delivery of care, by being objective and apply legal and ethical guidelines to advocate for client well being and preferences. They follow the professional nursing code of ethics and professional guidelines to clinical practice. I have demonstrated this value by being fair, honest, and treating my patient and everyone equally and without discriminating.
By teaching my client about their disease process and making them aware of different options and how to access information needed to promote good health. According to the international council of nurses (1998) “nursing is based on ethical values which respect the dignity, autonomy and uniqueness of human beings, the privileged nurse-patient relationship and the acceptance of personal accountability for decisions and action”. These values are experienced in written codes of ethics, and supported by a system of professional regulation.
- Page Dougherty C. J. : Ethical values at stake in health care reform. JAMA 1992; 268(17): 2109-2412. Institute of Medicine. (2000).
- T Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Page 1 International Council of Nurses (1998)
- Scope of Nursing Practice. Geneva: ICN Yancey VJ. Values and Ethics. In; Potter P. A, Perry A. G. Basic Nursing: Theory and practice 4th ed. Mosby Year Book Inc. St. Louis. 1997.