WHY IS NURSING CONSIDERED A CARING AND A HELPING PROFESSION
Nursing is widely considered to be a profession which is made up of professionals who are dedicated to both caring for their patients and helping people in a more general sense. ‘Caring’ has a dual meaning here: there is the literal ‘health care’ element, involving any procedures which need to be undertaken to maintain a patient’s physical or mental health, which is traditionally considered. Nurses are held accountable for delivering high-quality care by a set of rigorous standards, the NICE guidelines (2016). Their ability to continue practicing depends on their meeting these standards at all times. However, there is also an element of caring about one’s patients and their wellbeing – the best nurses are those who demonstrate that they are honestly interested in the wellbeing and the wider lives and personalities of their patients. ‘Helping’ is certainly a part of delivering excellent healthcare, but it also spans the more personal interactions that nurses have with their patients. Again, offering help where a patient requires it to perform a function or to live their lives to the fullest possible is part of a nurse’s core role, but helping in a more personal and less quantifiable sense is also essential. This could be done in many ways, including listening to the patient, supporting them in any decisions they may need to make, and assisting them in discussing their illness with family members or carers, amongst many other possible tasks. Helping loved ones of a patient to understand or cope with an illness, injury or condition can also fall under a nurse’s remit. Ultimately, both caring and helping patients are a central element of nursing practice, which is why the profession is often referred to using these adjectives.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2016). ‘All NICE guidelines’. Accessed 21.09.2016 – available online.
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