Social Policy and Theory in Nursing: Social Responsibility

Social responsibility refers to specific guidelines for enforcing ethical behavior among professionals. It also promotes values that require organizations and professionals to strike a balance between making profits and creating sustainable ecosystems (Wilmot, 2012). Accordingly, social responsibility promotes values such as supporting welfare of the community and environmental conservation. The concept of social responsibility in nursing embodies several values, which promote professional development of the discipline. Social responsibility has at its core values such as human rights, community engagement, social justice and professionalism (Kelly, Connor, Kun, & Salmon, 2008). Some of these aspects of social responsibility have evolved into reputable frameworks for enforcing morality in organizations as well as standards for evaluating international relations. Social responsibility has also gained prominence among nurses in recent years and has become a focal point of service delivery.

Closely related to the concept of social responsibility is nursing policy, nursing organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) have been vocal in developing policy frameworks for guiding professional nurses. These nursing policy statements cover a wide spectrum of issues ranging from professional matters, healthcare reforms, legal and ethical issues to advocacy (ANA, 2010). However, the most important aspect of the policy statements in nursing and the concept of social responsibility is the implementation (Dixon, 2013). Nursing is a practical profession, which seeks to implement theoretical knowledge to achieve tangible results in treatment and provision of healthcare. Hence, it is important that nursing practice shows the elements of nursing policies and familiarity with social responsibility.

Nursing special policy statements are a critical component of nursing theory. Basically, nursing policy statements serve three core purposes. First, they explain emerging issues and different aspects of nursing in order to create a common understanding (Hanks, 2013). Secondly, policy statements play the role of justifying specific courses of action taken by nurses and their representative organizations. This entails justifying positions that nurses hold regarding different topics that affect the delivery of quality services (APA, 2010). Lastly, nursing policy statements provide recommendations concerning particular courses of action that nurses ought to implement in their duties. The policy statements are revised from time to time while some of the outdated statements are replaced by newer prevailing versions (Tyer-Viola et al., 2009). Some of the current ANA policy statements include policies on HIV testing, equipment and safety procedures, personnel policies, drug abuse, and waste management among others.

These nursing policy statements have helped to create influential theoretical frameworks that guide nursing practice today. For instance, policies covering ethics and human rights issues, such as privacy and confidentiality, have helped to create an entire body of knowledge that makes nursing responsive to modern day issues (Meleis, 2012). The nursing profession relies on these policies in making crucial decisions that help to promote professionalism among physicians. Nevertheless, the most important element of these nursing policies and theories is their impact on social responsibility in nursing practice.

Contemporary nursing practice demands that professional nurses be at the forefront in promoting a sustainable ecosystem (Chinn and Kramer, 2011). The sole purpose of nursing is to preserve lives. Therefore, it would be imprudent to treat patients and prevent diseases without playing a role in promoting their welfare. Subsequently, there is an enormous amount of pressure on the nursing profession to be more responsive to the needs of society beyond treatment of ailments. Therefore, issues such as environmental conservation, renewable energy, domestic violence, and sexual harassment have emerged as the core areas of social responsibility in nursing.

With regard to environmental conservation, nurses have developed various policy frameworks that aim at creating a sustainable ecosystem. There are several environmental health theories that focus on preventing diseases that are associated with the environment (Chinn and Kramer, 2011). The nursing profession recognizes that creating a healthy and safe environment is one way of preventing spread of diseases. Therefore, nurses aim at preventing environmental pollution through improved waste management and confronting toxic substances in the environment (Conard & Pape, 2014). Similarly nurses extend the role of social responsibility towards promoting the use of safe energy. Issues such as the impact of radiation on human heath as a result of using dangerous forms of energy such as nuclear energy can negatively affect the environment. In the same regard, nurses have played a vital role in promoting peaceful coexistence of people in the community through fighting against gender harassment, and domestic violence. All these aspects of nursing indicate the significance of social responsibility in the nursing profession (Hanks, 2013). They also show the ability of nurses to respond to emerging issues in the society and extend beyond their normal service delivery in healthcare.

In conclusion, social policy in nursing has been vital in shaping nursing theory, thereby impacting social responsibility among nurses. Social responsibility helps to form stronger ties between the nursing profession and the community. It also strengthens the relationship between nurses and other professionals in working together to create a sustainable ecosystem.

References

American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing’s social policy statement. Washington DC: Nursebooks.org.

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. (6th ed.). Washington DC: Author.

Chinn, P. L. and Kramer, M. K., (2011). Integrated knowledge development in nursing. (8th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier.

Conard, P. L., & Pape, T. (2014). Roles and responsibilities of the nursing scholar. Pediatric Nursing, 40(2), 87-90.

Dixon, K. A. (2013). Unethical conduct by the nurse: A critical discourse analysis of Nurses Tribunal inquiries. Nursing Ethics, 20(5), 578-588.

Hanks, R. (2013). Social Advocacy: A call for nursing action. Pastoral Psychology, 62(2), 163-173.

Kelly, M. A., Connor, A., Kun, K. E., Salmon, K. E. (2008).Social responsibility: Conceptualization and embodiment in a school of nursing. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 5 (1), 1-18.

Meleis, A. I. (2012).Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippinkott Willimas I Wilkins.

Tyer-Viola, L., Nicholas, P. K., Corless, I. B., Barry, D. M., Hoyt, P., Fitzpatrick, J. J., Davis, S. M. (2009). Social responsibility of nursing: A global perspective. Policy Politics Nursing Practice, 10(2) 110-118.

Wilmot, S. (2012). Social justice and the Canadian Nurses Association: justifying equity. Nursing Philosophy, 13(1), 15-26.