The profession of nursing has evolved over the decades with the advent of newer technologies, but the one area that has not changed within nursing is the core values. Nursing values include: caring, autonomy, altruism, integrity, human dignity and social justice.
The profession continues to be voted No. 1 in trust by the public. Nurses work exhaustively integrating these values into their work ethic, sometimes without breaks and with extensive post-shift hours to maintain high quality continuous care for patients.
Despite these intrinsic values, the portrayal of nurses in the media fails to depict these qualities. Suzanne Gordon wrote in 2005 about the stagnation of attitudes toward nursing in the book, “Nursing Against the Odds.” While watching the television shows “Chicago Med” and “The Resident,” concerns are raised when physicians are portrayed doing the work of nurses. The physician is not with the patient 24/7, but the nurse is;, seeing to the patient’s needs with an attitude of compassion and caring.
Another observation of incorrect portrayal of nurses was when Washington State Sen. Maureen Walsh stated in an address to the senate, “I would submit to you … those nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for the considerable amount of the day.” This is a disturbing statement made bya government official. Is it a wonder nurses are not recognized for their expertise?
Nurses, please let the public know how hard this profession works to maintain and improve public health, patient care in hospitals, long-term care, mental health and correctional facilities, as well as school nurses. Nurses are leaders within a multidisciplinary team for patients that includes, but is not limited to, physicians, dietitians, counselors, social workers and pharmacists. As nurses celebrate Nurses Week (May 6-12), take pride in what the nursing profession has done and the future potential for what can be furthered. The Institute of Medicine (2011) stated nurses should “work to the fullest extent of their education and training.”
So nurses, make the profession proud as you continue the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional work involved in caring for patients. Happy Nurses Week.