For those curious about professional nursing values, providing exemplary patient care remains a top priority. To achieve this goal and to help patients feel more comfortable and supported with their healthcare needs, nursing professionals adhere to professional nursing values–a common set of values that guide personal and professional behaviors. This allows nurses to improve interpersonal relationships with their patients and implement ethics-based behaviors to make safe clinical decisions and provide top-notch patient care.
At SABER College of Nursing, we provide nursing students with a strong foundation in professional nursing skills and ethical standards. Through our coursework, students will learn about the importance of nursing values and how to implement and enact these standards in a real-world setting.
What are Nursing Values?
Nursing values are a set of guiding principles and professional ethics. The nursing practice uses to make safe clinical decisions and provide excellent patient care.
How Do Professional Nursing Values Help My Career?
- Improved Patient Care: Patients and their caregivers are better informed and receive more support. Patients feel safe and comfortable in your care.
- Enhanced Trust and Professionalism: Patients and other healthcare professionals have confidence in your behaviors and decisions. They know you have their best interests at heart.
- Safe and Ethical Decisions: Values based on a standard code of ethics and focusing on patients generate safe clinical decisions.
- Stronger Nurse-Patient Relationships: Patients recognize your values, trust you to provide exceptional care, and value your knowledge and input.
- Career Trajectory: Nurses that develop strong nursing values experience faster personal and career growth. Integrating nursing values into everyday behaviors will help you develop a professional mindset and generate trust in your work.
What are the Most Important Nursing Values to Learn?
The most important nursing values are detailed below. They include
- Accountability. Accountability means taking responsibility for your actions. Due to their close contact with patients, each action a nurse takes can tremendously impact a patient and their care. When making a mistake, it is important to take responsibility for your actions and communicate the mistake to other members of the care team so the action can be corrected. The patient can receive top-notch care. Accountability is a foundational aspect of a strong code of ethics; like integrity, trustworthiness, and honesty, it permeates working and personal behaviors and provides real value to those around you.
- Advocacy. Advocacy refers to the act of arguing for or supporting a cause, idea, or policy. Nurses must advocate for patients in nursing to ensure they receive quality care, attention, and correct diagnoses. Nurses must ensure patients’ rights, privacy, and safety are protected. Patients rely on nurses to speak for them, particularly to speak up or push back against doctors and other members of the patient’s healthcare team.
- Altruism. Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. In nursing, altruism is expressed by showing concern for patients, their caregivers, and other healthcare professionals. Altruism includes a component of selflessness in which nurses value the patient’s well-being above their own.
- Autonomy. Autonomy refers to the ability to self-govern and make informed decisions. Autonomy allows nurses to leverage the knowledge they have learned from their schooling and real-world training to make decisions that benefit the patient. Nurses must learn to think critically to evaluate data and make smart decisions. Medical autonomy refers to the patient’s authority to decide whether to accept or reject care and treatment. Nurses should respect patients and their opinions and not unduly influence their choices about their healthcare. Respecting patients’ autonomy and supporting their decisions makes them feel more comfortable and may encourage them to seek additional care.
- Commitment to Nursing. Commitment to nursing is demonstrated by a nurse’s efforts to provide excellent patient care, learn new skills, improve performance, and remain in the profession. By dedicating oneself to the profession, emphasis is placed on continuous learning, which demonstrates a desire to grow.
- Compassion. Compassion is acknowledging another person’s pain and suffering and the desire to help alleviate it. In other words, compassion is a willingness to help others and improve their well-being. For nurses, showing compassion is a pivotal part of providing excellent care. Nurses can show compassion to their patients through a variety of methods, including showing concern for their patients’ conditions; listening to their patient’s needs, wants, and concerns; advocating for their patients to other healthcare professionals; providing quick service and care; and showing up for their patients with a calm and kind demeanor. Compassionate nursing helps ease patient anxiety and provides a safer, more enjoyable care experience.
- Continuous Learning. Due to the fast-evolving nature of healthcare, careers in this field require healthcare practitioners to innovate, learn new skills, and improve knowledge continuously. Nurses who commit to continuous learning stay abreast of changes and new treatment options, thus ensuring they can provide updated patient information. In addition, nurses are excited to learn to open themselves up to opportunities for career advancement.
- Curiosity. Curiosity refers to an interest in others’ concerns. Curiosity in nursing can refer to interest in patients, their symptoms, and treatment; it can also refer to a strong desire to learn about new treatment techniques in the ever-evolving healthcare field.
- Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and identify with the feelings of others. Communicating in an empathetic way can make a significant difference in improving patient care. Patients who feel heard and understood are more likely to trust that healthcare professionals understand their disease and provide the best care options. Furthermore, by placing themselves in the patient’s shoes, nurses can better understand how the patient is feeling, how best to ease the patient’s fears and provide comfort, and which options are most appropriate for treatment and patient education.
- Ingenuity. Ingenuity refers to one’s imagination or ability to think outside the box. Ingenuity values critical thinking and encourages nurses and other healthcare professionals to be creative when implementing treatments and strategies for their patients. Nurses are the “boots on the ground” in the healthcare field. As such, they carry unique knowledge of patient perspectives and real-world outcomes of treatments and strategies.
- Integrity. Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. Individuals with integrity possess a strong moral compass and are honest and fair in their interactions with others. In particular, professionals in the healthcare profession must adhere to a code of ethics and moral behaviors to make the best decisions for their patients. Since patients often cannot advocate for themselves, nurses and other healthcare professionals are trusted to make the right decisions and provide the best care for their patients.
- Loyalty. To provide exceptional care, nurses must be loyal to their patients and jobs. Nurses demonstrate loyalty by resolving patient concerns, advocating for patients when needed, and striving for excellence when performing job duties. Nurses that remain loyal to the nursing profession demonstrate a long-term commitment to the field and an attitude of professionalism.
- Precision. Precision is the state of being exact and precise. Nurses must be precise in their actions to ensure patient safety and comfort. Nurses can improve their precision by analyzing past work performance to improve future performance and skills.
- Professionalism. Professionalism refers to a common set of behaviors and characteristics of those working in a professional environment. Professionalism is the standard by which your performance and reputation can be measured for nurses and nursing students. Maintaining a strong standard of professionalism gives patients and colleagues a sense of confidence in their nursing abilities. It ensures a more cohesive partnership with other patient care team members.
- Respect for Ethics. Ethics refers to correct conduct and character. Respecting ethics means respecting a system of principles and rules regarding moral obligations and the rights of others. Having ethical values helps nurses navigate and respond to difficult situations. Operating under a code of ethics ensures fair decision-making and care centered around regard for others. Adopting ethical behaviors will also build your employer’s confidence in your job performance and will provide reassurance that you can conduct yourself professionally and lawfully.
- Respect for Human Dignity. Human dignity is the belief that people have special value because of their humanity and deserve respect because they are human beings. Human dignity is a concept independent of race, gender, age, class, abilities, and other qualifiers. Human dignity in nursing means respecting patients and colleagues; it values the individual’s rights, autonomy, and privacy.
- Selflessness. In nursing, selflessness means putting the concerns of patients above your own. When dealing with a life-threatening illness or a stressful medical event, patients rely on nurses to provide the quality care they can not give themselves. When patients are prioritized, they feel better supported and can recover more quickly. Although nursing can sometimes feel like a thankless job, patients truly value nurses that provide them with selfless, prioritized care.
- Supportive of Social Justice. Social justice is the principle that everyone deserves respect and equality regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, social status/class, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. In nursing, this means all patients are provided equal healthcare services regardless of personal characteristics or means.
- Trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is the personal state or quality of being trustworthy and reliable. Establishing trust with a patient is critical to easing fear and anxiety and helps encourage patients to adhere to treatment protocols. Trustworthiness in nursing means keeping patients’ confidence; informing patients as soon as possible with information about their diagnosis, upcoming tests, or changes in their treatment regimen; and showing interest in how your care is affecting them. In a professional working environment, demonstrating trustworthiness will help your colleagues have more confidence in your work and allow your team to work more smoothly as one connected unit.
- Value Diversity. To value diversity is to value all groups equally. Nurses must commit to treating patients of all groups and populations, regardless of their personal identity or ideals. Diversity in hiring and staffing places commitment on hiring personnel with a wide variety of backgrounds and identities, providing them with equal value and respect.
SABER College’s Commitment to Professional Values
Our intensive Professional Nursing Program (PNP) incorporates education on these professional nursing values into our curriculum. In particular, the following classes taken over the course of six semesters help nursing students develop strong values necessary for nursing success:
- Introduction to Psychology
- Fundamentals of Nursing
- Fundamentals of Nursing Clinical Practicum
- Critical Thinking in Nursing
- Leadership Clinical Practicum
- Nursing Trends and Issues
- Nursing Trends and Issues Clinical Practicum
- Ethics and Law in Healthcare