For 12 years, the Gallup annual Honesty and Ethics professions poll has shown that 84% of those who voted rated nursing as the most trusted profession. We lost this title only once in 2001 following the tragedies of 9-11, when firefighters were recognized as the most trusted profession and nursing fell to second place.
We have been at the top of this list since then and should be proud of that designation. This nursing recognition speaks to our character and behavior as a profession because we share common values and core beliefs as nurses that bond us in our mission to help others. We, as nurses, make a difference in the lives of others every single day! With your touch, your caring, your compassion, your willingness to be there and listen, and yet we oftentimes go home and forget all the good we did for the day.
There was an interesting research study done by Michal Rassin (2008) that studied core values of nurses throughout the world, and interestingly, all nurses were very similar. I thought it might be nice to share the findings with you. Rassin defined values as “active standards that define social and professional behavior and affect moral judgement.”
Three categories of nursing values were studied. They were characterized as terminal (can be defined as fundamental, personal values), instrumental (moral beliefs usually from parents and past experiences) and lastly, professional. Here is what they found in the study.
Terminal Values of Nurses:
1. Family security (defined as taking care of loved ones)
2. Happiness (defined as contentedness, freedom from inner conflict)
3. A sense of accomplishment (defined as a feeling of fulfillment)
Instrumental Values of Nurses:
1. Honesty (defined as sincere, truthfulness)
2. Responsible (defined as dependable and reliable)
3. Intellectual (defined as intelligent and reflective)
Professional Values of Nurses:
1. Human dignity (defined as awareness of a patient’s beliefs and values and to honor them)
2. Equality (defined as the right to be treated equally without discrimination)
3. Prevention of suffering (defined as freedom from pain and anxiety)
It is important to understand our personal values and to be true to them with the choices we make in our lives. Being true to our personal values leads to feelings of accomplishment and content, and minimizes conflict in our lives.
As the most trusted professionals in the world, understanding and living our nursing values every day will not only help to keep us satisfied in our roles, but most importantly, will help us to provide our patients with the most compassionate, safe and rewarding experience regardless of the outcome.
We all have a mission on this earth to help others. Nursing is far from a profession, it is a calling. We as nurses make a difference! Thanks so much for all you do to help others.
About the Author: Dr. Val Gokenbach has a true passion for leadership and has been in administrative healthcare positions for over thirty years. As a professional dancer and fitness instructor for over 40 years, Val has led a dual life as a fitness presenter, consultant and dance instructor. She has been featured as a health consultant and guest host on multiple TV shows and QVC. As an international speaker and author, her goal is to share her life's philosophy with all nurses and help them realize their value to the world.
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