The Role of Respect for Patients

patient photo #2
Taken by Ann Hemingway. This photo tells us that we are the ones upon whom the responsibility for upholding the standards of care rests. Humanity, respect and dignity must be the foundations for our practice with those we care for, those we work with and those we mentor.

Nursing jobs require not only treating patients who are sick and injured, but also offering advice and emotional support to patients and their families.A nurse’s responsibility is to take care of their patients whether if it may be physically, or mentally. They play a critical role in the patient care experience.   As said by Donna Wilk Cardillo, “ Nursing is not for everyone. It takes a very strong, intelligent, and compassionate person to take on the ills of the world with passion, purpose, and work to maintain the health and well-being of the planet.”

 Focusing care on what is important to individuals as human beings enables us to understand and more fully appreciate a person’s personal experience of ill health, enabling us to have a better understanding of how to support them. The key elements of the NHS  (National Health Service) constitution include “respect and dignity” where we value each person as an individual, respect their aspirations and commitments in life, and seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities and limits.

Demand for quality customer service has seen a dramatic increase in many industries over the past several years, and medicine is no exception. While the medical community often cringes when faced with the terms “customer,” or “health care consumer,” it’s time to realize that patients are indeed customers who demand physicians and staff who are responsive, reliable, and empathetic. If patient expectations are not met, these value-conscious consumers will go elsewhere for their health care. As a result, attitudes about patient communications are more important than ever. -Texas Medical Association-

The recovery of a patient all depends on their environment, the way they are treated, and how much people engage into their situation.  New research shows that emphasizing the art of nursing and compassionate care during orientation can improve outcomes, including boosting patient satisfaction and reducing the incidence of falls and pressure ulcers. Lack of respect poisons the well of collegiality and cooperation of a patient. The connection between disrespectful behavior to patient safety should be made explicit in our efforts, since this is a rallying point that everyone can agree on. Medical staff members should absolutely be holding ourselves to the highest bar of professional and respectful conduct. We have no excuses for anything less. But beyond this, the medical system needs to re-evaluate itself and the way it respects — or disrespects — its own workers, and by extension, its patients.  (from the New York Times)

patient photo
Taken by Debra Wood, RN. This photo represents the bond that respect builds over time.

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