Attitude Matters: Attitudes and Values in Nursing
Submitted by Maureen Kroning, RN EdD
Written by Maureen Kroning, RN EdD and Kenechi Onwumelu, BSN Student, Nyack College, Nyack NY
Nurses are bound like other professionals to a shared set of behaviors, values and attitudes that are conducive to a professional environment. The set of professional behaviors nurses possess include: caring, compassionate, effective communication, responsibility, and accountability, sense of duty or obligation, and collaboration with patients, families and other members of the healthcare team.
The core values that all nurses share include: human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism and social justice. Each value is essential to our profession of nursing. The values are necessary for nurses to integrate caring behaviors towards their patients and to all members of the healthcare team. Even with a shared set of values and behaviors, we cannot underestimate the nurse’s attitude towards: others, their patients, their co-workers, and the organization they work for and towards the profession of nursing.
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics, “The nurse creates an ethical environment and culture of civility and kindness treating colleagues, coworkers, employees, students and others with dignity and respect (p.9). However, working in today’s hectic and often stressful healthcare environment can create a challenge to this very code of ethics. In fact, it is not uncommon for those working in today’s healthcare environment to have a negative or “bad” attitude. This “bad” attitude creates an even greater stress to the work environment and to all those working in it.
Employees that have “bad” attitudes can create a negative culture for their co-workers and the institution. Employees with “bad” attitude need to be held accountable and the institution needs to deem it unacceptable in order to maintain the integrity of the institution. According to the ANA, “Disregard for the effects of one’s actions on others, bullying, harassment, intimidation, manipulation, threats or violence are always unacceptable behaviors” (p.9). It is important that not only each person is held accountable for unacceptable behavior and “bad” attitude but that we help one another during any hard times, hurt feelings, heartache and physical and emotional pain.
According to SUCCESS magazine (2015): “One of the most important steps you can take towards achieving your greatest potential in life is to learn to monitor your attitude and its impact on your work performance, relationships and everyone around you”. Furthermore, “We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity.” It’s a power we all have. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond” Nurses are responsible for their actions and their attitude.
It is important to remember that one’s attitude and behavior contribute to a professional healthcare setting and foster a healthy work environment. A healthy work environment is essential to: the care for our patients, to creating a system of accountability, conflict resolution and to successfully collaborate with the interdisciplinary team. The job of nurses is not an easy one. Working in today’s healthcare environment can be chaotic and stressful therefore, it is even more important that everyone working in healthcare maintain a positive attitude and we support one another.
We need to reminded ourselves and our colleagues of our profession’s core values and our professional behaviors and that our attitude does matter. Our attitude matters to our coworkers, our healthcare organizations, our patients and to ourselves.
- American Nurses Association (2010)
- Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements American Nurses Association (2011).
- Nursing at its Best: Competent and Caring American Nurses Association (2010).
- Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice Fahrenwald, N, Bassett, S.,Tschetter,L,Carson,P.,White, L.,WInterboer,V. (2005).
- Teaching Core Nursing Values. Journal of Professional Nursing, 21(1) p.46-51.