Integrity can be defined as, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. This vital quality is necessary in all aspects of healthcare. Integrity is essential in promoting trust between the healthcare provider and the public. Healthcare providers are faced with difficult decisions every day and typically held in high regard by the public.
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” -William Shakespeare. Meaning in order to practice with integrity, it is essential to spend time getting to know yourself and what you believe in. Start by defining your core values. Analyze every single choice you make. Encourage integrity, especially within yourself. It’s also important to develop relationships with others who promote integrity.
According to a 2017 Gallup poll, nursing was the top trusted profession for 16 years straight. They have surpassed all other professions since Gallup first included them in 1999. Gallup conducts these surveys via telephone interviews with a random sampling of at least 1,000 adults. These polls reflect the trust that the public has within us and we should continue to work hard to withhold that trust.
Integrity is essential to the care and healing of patients, mind, body, and soul. Trust is the foundation of nursing care and essential for interpersonal relationships. Patients need to believe that nurses are honest and accepting of the person that they are. Start by introducing yourself. This shows the patient that you want them to know you for who you are and explain what you’ll be doing to provide care. Be an active listener. This is key to successful communication. Validate their concerns. Open and honest communication is important in the establishment of trust. Always do what you say that you are going to do. And take extra time to connect with patients.
Just as patients suffer from physical and emotional stress, so do nurses. The shortage of nurses is becoming a reality. How does this shortage affect our integrity? What about our ethics and values in general? It is said that in a crisis, those very things can be questioned. Those questions bring us back to our own values and ethics. It’s important that nurses become knowledgeable about effective ways to address these situations. It’s also important not to express these issues with patients. Patients tend to lose confidence that their needs will be met when this happens.
Preserve your integrity even when things go wrong. Be open and honest with patients when things do go wrong. Apologize and set the undesirable situation right. Integrity does not only matter when things go wrong. Remember, when trust is damaged, there is always a price to pay.
In conclusion, integrity is essential in being an ethical person. It’s a vital quality in all aspects of healthcare including nursing. Integrity promotes therapeutic communication and helps establish the patient-nurse relationship. Nurses are held at a high standard regarding integrity and it’s important that we withhold their trust. It’s important that we preserve our integrity because it’s a personality trait that people admire.
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