Nursing News March 15, 2016

By Moira K. McGhee, contributor

Top 5 Nursing Values And How To Apply Them

Updated March 1, 2022

Every nurse has their own personal reasons for choosing this career, but there are a few core principles that all nurses should share. What are the top nursing values, and why are they so important?

Nursing is a caring, compassionate profession. Nurses do not just perform tasks or provide services, they develop an empathy for the needs of others and a connection with their patients.

Applying nurse core values in all your actions ensures the trust put in your hands by your patients and fellow medical staff is well justified.

Nursing Values: How to Apply the Top 5 Nurse Core Values

Apply these professional nursing values in your everyday practices:

1. Compassion

Compassion encompasses empathy, caring and the promotion of each patient’s dignity.

Being sensitive to the needs of your patients and your patients' families is one of the most fundamental nursing values. Yet Matthew Thomson, a CCRN with more than 10 years of experience in the nursing field, cautions against burnout.

“Nurses get burned out and suffer from compassion fatigue,” explains Thomson.

“However, we need to remember that even though we have seen something a thousand times, this is probably their first. Treat every patient like they were your family member, and treat their guests like they were your own.”

2. Trustworthiness

Nurses are among the most trusted groups of people; in fact, they have topped the annual Gallup poll as the most trustworthy profession for the last 20 years! Trustworthiness is one of the most essential nursing values and vital to your integrity and ethical behavior.

Patients and fellow medical staff depend on your integrity, confidentiality, faithfulness and responsibility to your patients and their needs.

3. Humility

Nursing is one of the most rewarding, fulfilling career paths. With it comes a wealth of medical knowledge and skills that allow you to facilitate healing and alleviate suffering through proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment. But humility should also be your companion.

Thomson advises nurses to remain humble. Ask questions or ask for help when needed.

“Whether you're a nurse graduate or a nurse with 30 years of experience, we can all improve on our skills and knowledge,” Thomson explains. “Keep an open mind and open heart. Your patients will reap the benefits.”

4. Accountability

Professional nursing values wouldn’t be complete without accountability. Thomson stresses the importance of taking ownership over your practice, including every mistake, error in judgment or failure to communicate.

“Practice a mental exercise where you assume every problem is 100 percent your own fault,” explains Thomson.

“How did you contribute to a problem? What could you have done better? How can you improve next time? It forces you to take an active role in your life and keeps you from blaming others.”

5. Curiosity

Nursing knowledge encompasses all the theories, philosophies, research and practice wisdom of the nursing profession. You should never stop learning.

As Thomson points out, “Graduation is only the beginning of a nurse’s education. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to learn what separates mediocre nurses from great ones.”

Want to keep learning from new work settings while exploring new places? Onward Healthcare has thousands of travel nursing jobs to help you advance your career.

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