Professional Platform for Ethics and Leadership
The nursing profession is a noble and very important profession. Caregivers in general and nurses, in particular, continue to play a major role in the health and wellness of the global population, young and old, and the care for the sick. Advances in the medical sector and the increased awareness of healthy lives by people has made the profession to be one of the most in-demand today. The world’s people continue to look up to nurses to help them get out of life-threatening situations. As such, their trust in nurses’ magic touch that heals them is as strong as ever. However, nurses are increasingly obligated to fulfill their duties based on an ethical foundation to continue to preserve the esteem. In this light, this essay is a reflection on the nature, sources, and implications of my values, beliefs, and ethical perspectives that guide my personal life and nursing practice. Further, the essay includes my ethical leadership and professional development plan.
My primary influences
Growing up, I would hear stories about Edith Cavell and her heroics in Brussels during World War I (Hodgson, 2017). My parents would go on endlessly about how Cavell was martyred because of her love for humanity that stemmed from an endless reserve of compassion. Cavell was an extraordinary human being who embodied the values and ethics of a nurse. The war raged on in Europe and Cavell dedicated her time to caring for all wounded soldiers that she encountered. Edith Cavell’s compassion and personal ethics could not allow her to abandon allied soldiers even after the Germans were against it. As Hodgson (2017) recounted, Cavell would rather become a medical martyr than succumb to orders violating her values.
Edith Cavell became a force for good in the world during her time and even today because of three values that she held dear. First, Cavell wanted people to respect themselves and to respect others. The only way there could be compassion and lack of hatred was for people to acknowledge the importance of one another. Secondly, Cavell was an honest woman. She believed in being unbiased and being truthful at all times in her duties. With her actions, she hoped to instill confidence, integrity, and reliability in the people she served. However, the most iconic are Edith Cavell’s words engraved on her monument in London. The words read, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone”. In a word, Cavell believed that people in general, and nurses in particular, should live by a non-partisan principle and to offer care where and when it is needed.
Edith Cavell continues to be a huge influence on my personal and professional life. Her ethics are what I live by every day. This is because the values she espoused are as relevant today as they were during her time. In particular, I work hard to be a good influence both personally and professionally because I believe that is what a nurse should do. Our profession is one that demands not only professional competency by the ability to connect with patients at a personal level. Most of the people we deal with are broken, not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. Therefore, it is our responsibility to facilitate wholesome healing. I do not think there is a better example than Edith Cavell to help us accomplish the task.
Ethical principles that influence me personally and professionally
My ethical principles hardly fall far from my primary influence. In addition, I tend to have specific principles that guide me both personally and professionally. Personally, there is not a big distinction between an individual’s personal life and the professional one. These are two aspects of a person that interact often and that are intricately tied together. In a word, it is difficult for an individual to behave ethically on a personal level and go on to be unethical on the professional level. Instead, the two aspects often overlap and one is likely to behave professionally as he/she behaves on a personal level.
From the foregoing, one of the most important ethical principles that influence my personal and professional life is honesty. In their study, Salminen, Stolt, Metsämäki, Rinne, Kasen, and Leino-Kilpi (2016) identified equality and justice as the most significant ethical principles among nursing students and nurse educators. However, the authors went ahead to note that when it comes to the professional practice of nursing, honesty as an ethical principle comes on top. Honesty breeds integrity. In the nursing profession, more than anywhere else, integrity is paramount. This is because a nurse’s job is very delicate and, in some instances, it might be the difference between the life and death of a patient. Therefore, there is no room at all for lack of honesty, and by extension, integrity.
The second ethical principle that influences my personal and professional life is respect for others. During the peak of Edith Cavell’s career, a vicious war was waging in Europe. As such, basic human institutions had collapsed and people were vulnerable. It is in such situations that Cavell thought respect should reign supreme. This is no less true today. In the nursing profession, we get to interact with patients in their most vulnerable situations. However, the patients have confidence that nurses will help to walk them through the situation because they know they respect them and their privacy. The same is true at the personal level. I tend to believe that respect begets respect. Therefore, I do not expect to be respected where I have not been given respect.
The ethical practice of professional nursing
The nursing profession is quite demanding in terms of ethical standards to protect patients. Particularly, the foremost responsibility of nurses is to ensure that patients heal from their ailments as quickly as possible. However, Batbaatar, Dorjdagva, Luvsannyam, Savino, and Amenta (2017) noted that patient satisfaction goes beyond the need to heal fast. Instead, it encompasses the kind of care that the patients get, and, particularly, the level to which the nursing professionals adhere to professional ethical standards.
According to Salminen et al (2016), the ethical practice of professional nursing implies adherence to the Code of Ethics for Nurses. Usually, nurses encounter dilemmas and other ethical issues in their line of work and, as such, they need a guiding principle to help them navigate the issues (Epstein & Turner, 2015). The code of ethics defines how nurses ought to treat their patients and their fellow professionals. These rules and regulations are in the best interest of not only the healthcare sector, in which nurses play a critical part but also in the best interest of the wider society. Therefore, the ethical practice of nursing demands that nurses stick to the code of ethics at all times.
The American Nursing Association’s Code of Ethics outlines several rules that professional nurses ought to follow to ensure that act ethically. The rules lay out the rights and wrongs in professional nursing. In a word, the principles aim to ensure that professional nurses who subscribe to the ANA are on the same page. For instance, a professional nurse who acts ethically is one who distributes care fairly. A nurse should ensure that all groups of patients no matter their class, ethnicity, or race, receive equitable care. Interestingly, this principle agrees with Edith Cavell’s principles where she treated all soldiers from across the divide during the First World War.
In addition, the ANA Code of Ethics demands that professional nurses be ready to own the consequences of their actions. When you are dealing with the lives of other people, it is critical that you are accountable for every decision you take. Similarly, Edith Cavell was willing to face execution for her decision to treat allied soldiers even after stern warnings against the actions by the Germans (Hodgson, 2017). Other principles that define the ethical practice of professional nursing are beneficence, fidelity to one’s promises, upholding the self-determination of the patient, and being fully truthful with patients at all times.
Ethical leadership and professional development plan
Ethical leadership is central to creating an environment that achieves the objectives it aspires toward (Ehrich, Harris, Klenowski, Smeed & Spina, 2015). As such, it is imperative that professional nurses come with a professional development plan that bends them towards ethical leadership. The following is my plan:
- Definition of a great leader according to my understanding
The first step in professional development is to identify the target. Here, my target is to become an ethical leader. Therefore, I should be able to know what to which I am aspiring.
- Identify my core characteristics
Once I have an idea of the great leader I aspire to become, the next task is to identify my core characteristics, both good and bad. My core characteristics include adventure, extraversion, impulsiveness, openness, and abrasive.
- Core values
Core values are the building blocks of a person’s decision-making. That is, people make decisions based on their core values. Some my core values include integrity, loyalty, knowledge, duty, competency, and adventure.
- Leadership skills
At this point, I will be able to identify the leadership skills I possess and the ones that I lack. The leadership skills I possess include problem-solving, conflict management, teamwork, and personnel management.
On the other hand, I lack good communication skills, I am poor at managing personal stress, and I am poor at delegating.
To learn how to manage personal stress and how to delegate tasks. In addition, I would like to learn how to communicate effectively.
- Action plan
- To learn how to manage personal stress.
- Taking time every day to reflect on the importance of stress management.
- Take some stress management classes and perhaps schedule some sessions with a stress therapist.
- Should take three months.
- To develop better communication skills
- Read more books on good communication
- Schedule some sessions with a communication specialist to help hone my communication skills
- Should take three to five months
- American Nursing Association Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/ethics/.
- Batbaatar, E., Dorjdagva, J., Luvsannyam, A., Savino, M. M., & Amenta, P. (2017). Determinants of patient satisfaction: a systematic review. Perspectives in public health, 137(2), 89-101.
- Ehrich, L. C., Harris, J., Klenowski, V., Smeed, J., & Spina, N. (2015). The centrality of ethical leadership. Journal of Educational Administration, 53(2), 197-214.
- Epstein, B., & Turner, M. (2015). The nursing code of ethics: Its value, its history. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2), 1-10.
- Hodgson, G. R. (2017). Nurse, martyr, propaganda tool: The reporting of Edith Cavell in British newspapers 1915–1920. Media, War & Conflict, 10(2), 239-253.
- Salminen, L., Stolt, M., Metsämäki, R., Rinne, J., Kasen, A., & Leino-Kilpi, H. (2016). Ethical principles in the work of nurse educator—A cross-sectional study. Nurse education today, 36, 18-22.