‘Values and Believes’ plays a critical role in the profession of nursing, and incorporating a set of ethical values within a broader framework for nursing professionals suggest a way forward for efficient and resilient healthcare workers. Ethical values are central to ensuring resilience in the profession of nursing while focusing on improving healthcare service delivery to the patient with patient-centric and evidence-based care. Ten critical values for professional development in nursing include human dignity, altruism, social justice, autonomy in decision making, precision and accuracy in providing care, human relationship, responsibility, trust, sympathy, and individual and professional competency, which results in building the resilience of nursing professionals.
The premise for discussion on ethics and leadership in the nursing profession relies on healthcare professional’s position within the healthcare center as a ‘moral agent’ with the impact of personal actions on others, along with oneself at the moral level. Henceforth, the efficiency of healthcare workers increases when their respective understanding of personal ethics and the moral framework increases. Personal ethics and moral frameworks have complex nature, sources, and implications for nursing professions includes personal-level impact. Ethical frameworks for moral agents require assessment of the primary influences, coupled with ethical principles at the personal and professional level.
Primary Influences on Nursing Profession
Shahriari et al. (2013) attempt to define and assess ethical values of nursing and the literature review suggest critical values to the profession of nursing, which includes honesty, commitment, human dignity, sympathy, justice, competency, human relationship, privacy, accuracy, and precision in providing care, and autonomy of decision-making. At personal level, nursing professional in my immediate family members is one of the critical factors for awareness and understanding of the profession. Professional-personal life balance is critical for a healthy family and lifestyle, while resilience is the key factor that enhances work efficiency, coupled with maintaining work-life balance. Being part of a family where mother and grandmother are registered nurses means first-hand exposure to moral and ethical dimensions of the healthcare profession. Mother as ‘Director of Nursing’ in a large-scale metropolitan hospital, coupled with two cousins as registered nurses and working in the settings of geriatric, plays a critical role behind my motivation of pursuing a degree and career in healthcare settings.
The primary influence of nursing professionals as immediate family members is enormous, and the household culture which relies on trust, care, helping each other, and working towards the overall goal of assisting each other in perusing human welfare. Despite the mechanized routine, the element of resilience in the character of nursing professionals is a graceful element to life. Choosing to become a nursing professional is ensuring ethical values of committing to humanistic values beyond self, and relying on helping those in need with an equitable approach. However, skills and strategies for enhancing efficiency and efficacy in providing patient-centric comprehensive and precise healthcare are also critical for enhancing the ability of nursing professionals to become resilient.
Influence of Ethical Principles at Personal and Professional Level
The ethical code of nursing professionals requires a set of the framework at personal level, which enables an individual to become a moral agent with critical positive contribution to the society (Poorchangizi et al., 2019). At professional level, the ethical values which guide professional and personal actions include veracity, accountability, fidelity, justice, non-maleficence, autonomy, and beneficence. The promotion of health care for differently-abled, dying, and ill people, promotion of safety environmental regulations, advocacy, research, educating the community, health and patient system management, and participation in the policy reforms effort of healthcare are a few of the critical factors encompassing the ethical framework for the professional role in health care settings.
At personal level, respect and honor for the adaptability of societal norms and values that shapes attitudes about an object, person, or action. In a similar way, avoiding prejudices and discrimination based on race, age, color, ethnicity, faith is also critical to building resilience at personal level with direct impacts on professional life. Fairness and maintenance of confidentiality are also central to the individual’s ethical framework of values at personal level, which explains a higher sensitivity level for cultural acceptance and diversity (Duckett, L, 1994). However, personal values also include core competency values within their respective areas of practice because it strengthens the moral grounding of the (moral) agent (healthcare professional).
Ethical Practice of Professionals in Nursing
Primarily, nurses are one of the professionals working in the healthcare services providing care to the patients and clients with regard to ethical concerns and issues. The knowledge of ethics enhances the ability of nursing professionals to utilize efficient tools and techniques for providing care in situations that have legal, cultural, and ethical dimensions. In other words, ethics provide the viewpoint of providing the best care to the patient, which is a central component of the nursing profession. The primary obligation of the nursing profession is to perform the clinical function of providing safe and appropriate care for the patient which they deserve. However, the response of the nursing professionals depends on the selected ethical values for undertaking patient care. The set strategies, goals, and functions of nursing professionals are highly sensitive to the nursing professional’s framework of values. The contemporary ethical concerns require counting on the ‘value’ resource of nursing professionals within practice, and the same values are central to the human lifestyle in society.
The most critical part in the value framework of nursing professionals is human dignity, which includes respect for the patient, society, and family members of the patient. Understanding the needs of the patient allows nursing professionals to provide patient-oriented care with consideration of innate human values, which includes preservation of dignity through communication with the patient, coupled with privacy during clinical procedures. Additionally, respect for the ‘belief’ system of the patient is also critical to embody the value of ‘dignity’ within the ethical framework structure of nursing professionals. For example, Pang et al., 2009 emphasize on acceptance of respect and dignity for patients, and human being in general, for efficient healthcare service delivery of everyone. The value of ‘dignity’ has its roots in the humanistic aspects of the nursing profession, which relies on appreciating the norm of helping others. Dignity is widely accepted as the core value of the nursing profession across various ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems (Boozaripour et al., 2018).
Injustice is the root cause of health inequalities in the United States. Incorporation of justice as a value of ethics in the nursing profession indicates acknowledgment of the basic rights to health services with disregard to socioeconomic, cultural, economic, and political impediments (Poorchangizi et al., 2019). Social justice within the nursing profession’s ethical code of values reinstates provision for equal healthcare treatment and care, coupled with equitable distribution of resources at the macro-level. Equality is central to the fair access of healthcare services to all the citizens, and countries like those of Belgium who has managed to provide equal nursing care to each individual and incorporating it as basic rights.
Humans psychology suggest that they want to remain focused on human welfare, and struggling with healthcare needs requires urgent attention. They focus on clients not as buyers and considering them as humans needing healthcare services to sustain a prosperous life. Additionally, helping others is the central component of the nursing profession which relies on contributing to society in a selfless and devoted manner.
Autonomy in Decision-Making
Another critical ethical value is independence in making the decision-making on part of the patients requesting healthcare services. Understanding the value of autonomy in decision-making emphasizes the necessity of acknowledging the basic right of the individual to choose his or her own healthcare services. Autonomy in decision-making means the ability of the patient to accept or reject a treatment.
Precision and Accuracy in Caring
The value of appropriate and precise health care aims to enhance the efficiency of nursing professionals, and incorporating it within core ethical values enhances the ability of the patient to receive the most suitable healthcare. Adequacy in clinical skills enhances the ability of the nursing professionals to adequately promote healthcare outcomes in favor of patients through a patient-centric approach.
Responsibility is the core value of individuals with authority, and the ethical value of authority is central to contributing to society with confidence. Healthcare and nursing professionals rely on responsibly delivering healthcare services to the patients without compromising on the patient’s creditability, and other basic rights of the health services consumer.
Healthcare services are the product of human interaction, whereby two key stakeholders to the services are patients, and professionals working to provide the patients with precise and patient-centric care. A few of the critical components of human relationships in the nursing profession are trust, mutual respect, and resilience; although, privacy and confidentiality are critical to effective human relationships between the nursing profession and patients. Additionally, non-verbal and verbal communication patterns are equally important with sympathy, empathy, courtesy, mutual understanding, friendliness, and both in nursing practice and verbal communication. Caregiving in the nursing profession requires effectiveness and efficiency of the relationship between the professionals working in nursing careers, and interaction with patients’ basic rights respected.
Individual and Professional Competency
The value of ‘competency’ at the personal and professional level in nursing practice is instrumental to the growth in career, along with the trait of adaptability with new technology. Professional competency relies on clinical skills which ensure holistic and comprehensive care to the patient, coupled with the requirement of the range of a diverse skill. Competency paves way for confidence and trust, which yields in giving the best care to the patient with an evidence-based approach dominated in practice.
The nursing ethical value of sympathy is also critical but significantly varies with culture, and despite the defining elements of sympathy in various cultures, sympathy remains critical to the ethical values of the nursing profession. Sympathizing with patient indicate ‘empathetic’ behavior towards patients, which in is some culture’s practice of providing care through sharing patient’s physical, psychological and emotional suffering, like that of East Asian countries.
Trust is one of the ethical values central to nursing professional’s framework for providing inclusive care to patients. Trust comes with the practice of honesty as a core value within workplace settings in providing health care to patients and maintaining cultural sensitivity through the incorporation of diversity.
Ethical Leadership and Professional Development Plan
The development of a professional ethical plan with consequences for leadership suggests that there exist negative and positive aspects of a moral agent’s character when conferred with authority, which has its associated power to influence. Shahriari et al. (2013) research also highlights the influences of socio-cultural and economic statuses, coupled with a belief system, which plays a significant role in defining the ethical values across different parts of the global nursing community. The most common value at the global level is respect for patients and protecting the dignity of the human, which had positive consequences for the development of ethical code and enhancement of nursing practice. Professional development plans for nursing professionals rely on a framework of ethical values that builds resilience in the nursing profession and allows for efficient health care services to the patients. The professional development plan includes career paths and acknowledging to improve practice on a constant basis (Barkhordari-Sharifabad et al., 2018).
Growth opportunity in the career of nursing professionals embodies a professional development plan that guides nurses in pursuing efficiency at practice and keeping in regard for the need for constant improvement. Effective organizational culture of healthcare unit also flourishes growth prospect which navigates across time with professional development plans operating as a roadmap. Ethical leadership flourishes vibrant organizational culture, and at a personal level represents itself as the role model for healthcare professionals at lower organization-hierarchy. Ethical leadership encompasses a set of values within the framework of ethical values for ensuring efficient service delivery to the patient, irrespective of the diversity in any form. Moreover, ethical leadership celebrates cultural diversity and provides overall efficiency to the healthcare unit. Ethical leadership also defines the values that they themselves have worked on and have evidence-based results supporting the theory.
The framework of values for nursing professionals suggests a unique set of ethical values which are broadly accepted within the global community and provides an opportunity for diversity and coexistence. The objective of ethical values for nursing professionals emphasizes on comprehensive and inclusive care to the patient. Ten ethical values for nursing professionals are the widely accepted ethical values that can assist me in pursuing the nursing profession with resilience. Personal factors, such as immediate family members working in the nursing profession, are critical for the decision of pursuing a nursing career, which requires building a strong relationship between the nursing professionals and patients. At the professional level, the ethical values of trust, confidentiality, patient-centric care delivery, and working resiliently are required to achieve greater milestones.
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