For the fifteenth consecutive year, the Gallup poll has ranked nursing as the most trusted profession, and nurses as the professionals who uphold the highest ethical standards out of a wide range of professions, including doctors, police personnel and teachers. This poll reflects the trust that the public hold in nurses; and truly, whether by the bedside or in the executive boardroom, nurses are the most trusted resource in the healthcare system in any country. Patients look to nurses for care during their most vulnerable times, and the nursing profession has proven time and again that they do, indeed, deserve this trust!
Nursing encompasses so much more than just medical care- it has to do with the human touch as well. When a patient needs a drink of water or a painkiller, it is the nurse whom they turn to. Nurses look after even the most intimate needs of patients, and they do so with compassion and thoughtfulness. Tasks that range from coaxing the patient to eat, telling a joke while drawing blood, to helping the patient to take a few steps after a surgery, all fall within the nurses’ responsibilities.
While it is the doctor who manages the overall healthcare plan, nurses are the ones who carry it out; and in doing so they spend the most number of contact hours with the patient. Ninety-nine per cent of patient interactions in hospital are with their nurses, and patients learn to trust their swift handling of any problems they may be facing. They know that when they call for help, it is their nurse who is always the first to respond!
Nurses must necessarily draw on this single minded trust that patients place in them, by advocating them on health issues and doing all they can to improve the welfare of the community at large. Recovering patients are more likely to listen to the words of advice from the nurse who has been at their bedside during their stay in hospital. They will follow the patient care advocated by them, as they perceive that their nurses honestly care for them and want their well-being.
However tired they may themselves be, nurses are trained to be cheerful and pleasant and to extend compassionate care at all times. When you are not in the best of health, a smiling face can make all the difference to your quick recovery! At times when the patient’s health prognosis is not so positive, it is again only nurses who can be relied upon to tell the truth, clearly and correctly. Nurses often help patients to make informed decisions about their continued healthcare. For this reason, patients learn to expect honesty from their nurses.
Another reason for this trust could be that nurses do not benefit financially from any diagnosis, whereas in many hospitals doctors do stand to gain, financially, if patients are made to undergo tests or have a surgery. As nurses have no financial or other incentive to do anything wrong, they can be trusted to do all the right things!
To stay on top of the profession and keep themselves abreast of all the advancements in the field, nurses must undertake professional development courses. This will help them to keep up the trust that the community has placed in them and to carry out their duties to the best of their ability.