Monday, January 23, 2012

Nursing: Our Code, Our Profession

"Health is a fundamental right of every individual. Therefore, the nurses’ primary responsibility is to preserve health at all cost. This responsibility encompasses promotion of health, prevention of illness, alleviation of suffering and restoration of health."

Basic to nursing is knowledge and understanding of man.  For effective health, knowledge of man’s cultural, social, pathophysiological, psychological, and ecological aspects of illness and the therapeutic process are essential. Differences in ethnicity, political and social status are not barriers to effective nursing care.

Standards of practice vary in different settings. Society is ever-changing and nurses respond to change. Respect for the rights and dignity of individuals is basic to the practice of the profession.

These words are as quoted from the amended Code of Ethics for Nurses, it defines and specifies what nurses ought to do and what not to do. This foreword is the very core of Nursing professionalism and ethical conduct.

But what does it really mean? Over the years, this phrase has lost its meaning, together with the aging of time. Like an old song playing in the radio, good to remember but not enough to be thought of.

Have we paused and assessed ourselves what has become the professional nurse within us? Have we forgotten that before we start our shift we would ask God to bless our days work? That may He help us overcome our temporal weakness so that the sick placed in our care would not be lost?

If so, then why have we turned like this? Maybe Bro went deaf or maybe we never really prayed. Because if we did, we would have never shouted at the poor mother who is about to give birth for her lack of common sense, never mind that she is in the throes of labor. We would have not broken the rules of sterility by letting our nieces and nephews inside the delivery room wearing their muddy slippers, afterall our patients are indigents they are resistant to infection. Lastly, we would have not brought our camera phones to take pictures of what is to be a sacred event of saving lives.

I thought we are professionals that we know our Ethics, but I guess arriving twenty minutes late and under timing is not part of that.

 But then, why am I preaching? The pay is low, the economy is falling. The world is experiencing hard times and patients should do also. Afterall, the world should be fair, now to make it fairer, how do our student nurses fair?

If I remember correctly, the patient’s bill of rights states that the patient has the right to expect that communications and records pertaining to his or her care shall be treated as confidential. So talking about patients who have tuberculosis on carenderias and patients who have AIDS on jeepney rides are not included. Duty time is over and its no longer inside the hospital. It just so happens that we feel so sorry for them we can’t help but talk about their cases. Besides, our Clinical Instructors do that and so does the rest of the staff, what was that saying again? Ang maling ginagawa ng mga matatanda ay tama sa mga mata ng bata, where can one possibly get wrong with that?

Indeed revisions of the Code of Ethics were made and the patient’s bill of rights is now deemed obsolete, unfortunately the rest of us were not informed of these changes.

Hopefully as I look around me, I would see nurses who do their best in providing quality care to patients. That some would never cease to give medications on time or extend their hours just so that proper endorsements to the next shift are made. And best of all, I would love to hear patients thanking nurses for the services they have rendered to them.

Indeed, these negative issues surrounding the nursing profession, hopefully does not stand for the rest of us. Yes, some would have already given up this thankless job, but as what Meredith Gray once said “I have a million reasons to give up this job but I have only one reason to stay.”

In a stress related job, what is actually good and what is bad, when both lines become blurred? In the end, we would come to realize that people make mistakes and such is the reason why the Code of Ethics was made. To constantly remind us of the things we are starting to forget.

Let us all remember that nursing is not merely a profession but a vocation that needs a lot of love. As stated earlier, health is a fundamental right of every individual and we as nurses should always hold these thoughts above everything else.

Let our code, our profession be the source of our pride.


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