Why Become a Nurse
Why choose nursing as a profession? Nurses have been asked this as far back as can be remembered. Each individual nurse has different reasons, rather it is personal, professional, money, job security, or just a love for people, every person who has decided to enter into nursing has entered into a lifelong commitment. Each nurse commits to the core values of becoming a nurse which include human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice. All nurses have a vision when starting out of how they want to be as a nurse, they expect to be the perfect nurse never making a mistake, always being patient and kind, however, as a nurse everyday you have to deal with noncompliant patients, upset family members, and other staff members. Nursing is a challenge but as a nurse you have to remember that each day you are helping someone and one kind word could brighten a patients day, that no matter how bad your day is you must remember your core values and the reason you first became a nurse.
When a person decides to become a nurse they make the most important decision of their lives. They decide to dedicate their lives to the care of others sometimes putting their own health at risk to help the sick to become better or to keep them comfortable during the end of their life. "When you become a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours." Author Unknown, (Quote Garden, 2008) When you walk into a room and see the smile of a patient or hear them say "I'm so glad you are here today you take the best care of me" it makes you remember what you are there for.
Nurses have a variety of career choices they can work in childbirth centers, community health, emergency departments, geriatric wellness programs, intensive care units, mental health programs, occupational health, operating rooms, nursing research, school health, substance abuse treatment programs, and many more.
Nurses understand that the ongoing changes in nursing and the health care system create a need for life long learning to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. Each day is anything but routine, nurses must always be ready to think on their feet. Nursing is a career for a lifetime.
There are five core values in nursing they are human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice. Every nurse should strive to maintain these core values. All patients and their families trust the nurse to uphold these values and when one does not then it causes the public to lose faith in the healthcare system.
The term "dignity" is defined as "the state of being worthy of honor or respect" (The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary, 1991). When this concept is associated with the adjective "human", it is used to signify that all human beings possess inherent worth and deserve unconditional respect, regardless of age, sex, health status, social or ethnic origin, political ideas, religion, or criminal history. (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, 2008). In nursing you are taught to treat all patients with dignity, you are to treat each person as equal and not refuse care to anyone regardless of their past or other factors. You treat each patient as you would treat your own loved ones if you were to care for them.
Integrity is the basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, 2008). Nurses have set values of integrity they work together as a whole with others to benefit everyone involved. Nurses also behave honestly, fairly, and ethically are truthful. They are truthful, trustworthy, and fair in all efforts, while holding themselves to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. Nurses provide an environment of openness; they are honest in their approach to one another and those they serve.
Autonomy (Greek: Auto-Nomos - nomos meaning "law": one who gives oneself his/her own law) is the right to self-government. (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, 2008). Autonomy in nursing gives the patients a right to informed consent. The patient is given the facts and consequences to their health choices and has the right to choose to go through the procedure or not, unless that person is declared incompetent and then a medical power of attorney or health care surrogate is appointed to them to make decisions.
Altruism is selfless concern for the welfare of others. (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, 2008). Everyday nurses put their own lives in danger to care for patients in their time of sickness or death. Nurses are ethically required to take care of patients sometime risking their own safety and health. Whether it be a putting themselves in the way of a physically aggressive patient to protect the other patients or staff, or entering a room to care for a patient with HIV, TB, MRSA or other contagious diseases. Nurses must put the welfare of their patients first.
Social justice refers to the concept of a society in which justice is achieved in every aspect of society, rather than merely the administration of law. (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, 2008). Nurses are required to uphold freedom of choice in their patients' care, while upholding their dignity.
Vision for self as a nurse
When a person chooses to become a nurse they see themselves as a Florence Nightingale figure, always doing for the good of others, never doing wrong, never failing in anything they do. Then when they actually get in their role as a nurse they find it is not always easy to do their job as they were taught. As Faye Wattleton who as a nurse saw women suffering from botched illegal abortions, became the first African American president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1978. "In a health care situation, you see humanity at its most basic, and you realize there are no simple yes or no, right or wrong answers" (About.com, 2008). Nurses are required to think on their feet and to know critical thinking, to know what is needed in every situation and what can be done to solve the needs of that person at the time. As a nurse you hope to never make a mistake but if a mistake is made you own up to it and work to correct it. To be a perfect nurse is impossible, nurses are humans, and all humans make mistakes.
Working with self and others to follow nursing philosophy
A nurse must work to maintain personal satisfaction and growth. As a nurse, you're making a real difference in people's lives every day. No two days are the same, and nursing provides you with knowledge and experience you can use for yourself, your family, and your community, in addition to your patients. Some days when a nurse has had to deal with a noncompliant patient, an irate family member, or other healthcare workers who take their frustration out on the nurse they may feel like they chose the wrong profession. Then they walk into a room to a smiling face and kind words and it makes it all worthwhile. When a nurse sees the patient who has been hospitalized for a long time finally get to go home and realizes that they had a part in that happening then it makes all the other negatives not look so bad. Just remember when caring for your patients to always demonstrate patience, kindness, and understanding. That noncompliant patient may just be scared and has no other way of letting out their fears, the family member may be stressed for worrying about there loved ones and looks for others to blame, your healthcare peers may have been having the same kind of bad day that you have had and you just came up on them at the wrong time. Just remember the real reason you became a nurse and remember all of those who are depending on you to help them get well.
In conclusion, a nurse needs to remember the Hippocratic Oath they took when they became a nurse: "I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care." (Cybernurse, 2008). Nurses must remember their core values and follow them to the best of their ability. During the good and bad times they need to remember why they decided to become a nurse and their vision to what they want to achieve as a nurse. They must always remember to put the care of others first and to treat everyone equally. A person who chooses nursing as a profession makes a choice that will affect them for a lifetime.