I recently had the privilege of meeting with a Vancouver Island University Nursing Faculty book group to talk about the book, The Moral Work of Nursing, and the challenges facing nurses in today’s health care environment. I was also invited to speak to a first year nursing class about my reasons for writing the book and was encouraged by the insightful questions raised by both faculty and students. Many of my reflections focused on the meaning and essence of nursing as summarized in chapter 3 of my book:
Throughout my career, I was privileged to practice in nursing roles as caregiver, coordinator, leader/manager, advocate, counselor and educator. … A wide range of experiences expanded my horizons culturally, geographically and professionally and taught me the importance of seeing beyond myself in order to learn from others (p. 27).
Even in today’s health care environment that places more emphasis on science and high-tech skills than health care relationships, the therapeutic value of the nurse-patient relationship remains constant. Respectful treatment of patients/clients as fellow human beings is a central component of the moral work of nursing (p.33-34).
My hope is that the book will inform readers of the vital role nurses play in health care and remind nurses of the sacred trust that patients/clients place in them.