nursing values

Top 10 Professional Nursing Values and Why They’re Important

You must have heard the saying that ‘nursing isn’t just a profession, it’s a calling.’ And nothing rings truer when it comes to nursing values. When it comes to being a nurse, your skills and expertise do matter, but your professional values are just as important.  

Nursing values aren’t just arbitrary qualities you must possess. They are far more significant than that. These values play an important part when it comes to clinical decision-making and guiding your actions as a medical professional. In challenging scenarios, such as ethical dilemmas, your professional values serve as a yardstick that determines the right course of action. 

These 10 essential nursing values can help you build good nurse-patient relationships while contributing to better patient care outcomes: 

1. Trust 

Nursing is considered one of the most trusted professions, and the reason is evident. Nurses take care of people who’re at a really vulnerable point in their lives, both physically and mentally. Building a trusting relationship with patients can help them feel safe. This will, in turn, encourage them to feel less anxious and communicate their needs with the nurses, which will lead to better patient care outcomes. Several provisions in the nurses’ Code of Ethics emphasize trust as one of the most integral nursing values and recommend nurses to always act in the best interests of the patients.  

2. Compassion 

Despite being in the hospital, under professional care, patients could still be facing an ‘n’ of stressors. Being compassionate towards patients can provide them with essential emotional support which can hasten the recovery process. Small gestures like giving them an honest compliment, smiling at them, answering their questions patiently or being perceptive of non-verbal cues can really help them feel at ease in your presence. 

3. Empathy 

Nurses who are empathetic towards their patients can pick up on social cues and address patient needs much more efficiently. You can be more empathetic towards your patients by respectfully addressing their concerns and anticipating their needs. If a patient needs help repositioning themselves, you can check in on them regularly, asking if they need help. These small actions can have a significant impact on the patient’s mental well-being. 

4. Respect 

Respect is one the most important foundational nursing values. It embodies a lot of ethical obligations a nurse must have towards their patients. From protecting patient rights to human dignity, the provisions in the nurses’ Code consistently reiterate the need to be respectful towards patients. Being respectful and considerate towards a patient instead of being judgmental can help them feel important and cared for. You should also be respectful towards your coworkers to help in fostering a positive work environment.     

5. Integrity 

Integrity not only defines your character but also positively influences healthcare outcomes. It ensures that you are honest, ethical, and consistent in your actions, even when faced with difficult situations. As a nurse, it’s crucial to uphold the ethical standards outlined in the Code of Ethics. Safeguarding a patient’s confidentiality and advocating for their well-being are paramount responsibilities. By demonstrating integrity and dedication to your patients, you can also inspire others with your professional conduct and contribute to an efficient work environment. 

6. Responsibility 

A sense of responsibility is integral for a nurse. It is a core value that underpins all aspects of nursing care and is essential for providing safe, high-quality, patient-centered care. Nurses are tasked with looking after the daily needs of their patients, tracking and implementing their treatment plans correctly, and ensuring their safety. That’s why being responsible is important for the health and well-being of the patients. A responsible nurse also makes it easier for other healthcare professionals to collaborate with them.  

7. Advocacy 

With the healthcare scene being as complicated as it is, it falls upon the nurses as primary caregivers to advocate for their patients. This means that you are standing up for their right to autonomy. From communicating patient needs to other healthcare professionals to educating them so that they can make informed decisions for themselves, nurses play an important part in making sure that patient rights are always respected. Advocacy can also be extended to the administrative level, where nurses can use their influence to ask for policies that facilitate equitable access to healthcare services 

8. Accountability 

Building a habit of accountability is important for nurses as it helps them look out for their patients. As nurses often deal with multiple patients, accountability can help them allocate medical resources adequately. Accountability also ensures that they can justify their actions through ethical principles and thus demonstrate advanced levels of professional judgment. Nurses who hold themselves accountable also have greater awareness of the role they play, and this can help them become better professionals as well.  

9. Ethics 

The actions of nurses have a direct impact on people’s lives, which is why the nurses’ Code of Ethics outlines four important principles – autonomy, beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence. By adhering to these four principles, nurses ensure that they provide care that is ethical, compassionate, and respectful of patients’ rights and dignity. These principles serve as a guide for nurses in their daily practice, helping them to make decisions that are in the best interests of their patients and that uphold the values of the nursing profession. 

10. Cultural competency  

Nurses often work with patients from a wide range of demographic backgrounds, each with their own unique beliefs, values, and cultural practices. Nurses must be trained in cultural sensitivity to provide effective and compassionate care to all patients, regardless of their background. By being aware of cultural differences, nurses can approach patients with an open mind to build a trusting relationship with them. This will, in turn, allow them to provide better and more personalized care, which will boost patient satisfaction. 

Also read: Tips to Overcome Language Barriers in Travel Nursing

Final thoughts

The true value of nursing lies in providing holistic patient-centric care. That’s why these professional nursing values are crucial for a nurse. They are fundamental in shaping a nurse’s practice and interactions with patients. They ensure that nurses not only treat the medical needs of their patients but also provide emotional support, comfort, and understanding. 

Nurses don’t just treat patients, they touch lives. The impact of their actions can last throughout a patient’s life, continuing to inspire them. By embodying these nursing values, nurses have the power to transform the lives of their patients and contribute to a healthier, more compassionate society. 



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