Professional values serve as a foundation for nursing practice. Practicing nursing with an appreciation of respectfulness, caring, and human dignity leads to a sense of honor and fulfillment. Nurse educators are challenged to convey core values while introducing students to the professional role. The faculty of the college join together in the responsibility to teach nursing values and show how they are translated into practice.
The faculty of the college use diverse teaching strategies to support the development of values. In the clinical setting, faculty encourage students to reflect on situations that involve the application of values. In the classroom, scenarios are introduced that promote awareness of issues and values prevalent in society. Faculty strive to develop a learning environment in which ethical behavior is expected and respected. Faculty endeavor to display behaviors that convey fairness, concern, respectfulness, and integrity.
Students who are joining the profession learn to take on the responsibility of promoting nursing values through their actions. Students agree to uphold standards of honesty, integrity and accountability. Students develop a climate of inclusiveness, respect and growing self-awareness as they interact with patients, colleagues, and faculty. Students are encouraged to speak out when they notice injustices, and to show concern for those who are vulnerable.
The following values are embraced as core professional values by the faculty, staff and students of our college:
Altruism is concern for the well being of others. Nurses show altruism by advocating for patients, especially for those who are unable to protect themselves. Through unselfish support, especially mentoring colleagues in their professional growth, nurses show altruism. Altruistic actions help to create a climate of caring and professionalism.
Respect for autonomy defends the right to self-determination. Nurses demonstrate this value by protecting patients' rights to be involved in making decisions about their care. Nurses develop partnerships with patients and their families to facilitate sharing of information and to honor the rights of patients and their proxies to consent or to refuse. Within the college, autonomy is supported when faculty, staff, and students participate in governance and decision making.
Human dignity is respect for the innate worth of each human being. Nurses that respect human dignity find value in others because of their humanity, not because of their wealth, social standing, or level of alertness. Every human being deserves a life of dignity, including courtesy and privacy. As much as possible, human beings should have the opportunity to participate in worthwhile efforts while developing their unique talents. Participation contributes to a sense of dignity and being valued.
Integrity is the quality of wholeness. Nurses that act with integrity show wholeness in the harmony of their ethical beliefs and their actions. Integrity embraces honesty, accountability, and responsibility. Nurses with integrity maintain high standards of care by respecting professional standards of practice and developing greater professional competency. Nurses also respect integrity when they acknowledge themselves and others as whole persons with unique identities. A person's wholeness includes qualities of identity, culture, personality, and varying physical abilities that are made welcome. Nurses approach people that are different with empathy and respect.
Social justice is the aspect of justice that is expressed in social arrangements, whether local or global. Social justice upholds the principle that all human beings are equally deserving of dignity and human rights. Nurses support the right of all patients to have access to health care without discrimination. Nurses act in solidarity with those who are poor and vulnerable, seeing the interconnections between all people. Within the college, the value of social justice inspires faculty and students to provide fair opportunities, and to repair social disadvantages.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author.