By its very nature, nursing implies caring for others and aspiring to the greater good of patients and the community. These functions require a nurse to apply a humane and ethical approach. According to the definition by the American Humanist Association (n.d.), humanism is motivated by compassion and “supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility” (para. 2). In addition, humanism stands for social justice, protection of human rights, respect for the dignity of every person, and fulfillment of diverse individuals’ needs and interests (American Humanist Association, n.d.). It is valid to say that all these features are in line with the major principles of nursing ethics.
In my professional practice, the core elements of humanism are manifested in the way I treat patients and colleagues. I approach every person with respect, strive to understand their interests, provide support to and collaborate with them in order to improve either treatment outcomes or clinical practice and workplace environment. Even though the work of a nurse can be excessively stressful at times, I always try my best to show empathy and compassion through attentive, honest, and constructive communication. Overall, I regard patients as partners and not as subjects. I also see them as equal and competent enough to know what is best for them. In my opinion, avoiding a paternalistic approach to care and discarding a belief that whatever you may think is right is suitable for everyone are the best ways to express respect for multiculturally diverse individuals. Such a humanistic manner of caring and communicating is highly beneficial not only for patients and nurses but also for the nursing profession and healthcare as a whole. It allows for increasing the quality of care and minimizing the incidence of healthcare disparities.
American Humanist Association. (n.d.). Definition of humanism. Web.