Values and Professional Behaviors

Baccalaureate and graduate education for professional nursing include processes that foster the development of values, attitudes, personal qualities, and value-based professional behaviors. Values are defined as beliefs or ideals to which the individual is committed and which guide behavior. Values are reflected in attitudes, personal qualities, and consistent patterns of behavior. Attitudes are inclinations or dispositions used to respond to persons or situations, while personal qualities are innate or learned attributes of an individual. Professional behaviors reflect the individual’s commitment to specific professional values.

The professional nurse must adopt characteristics such as independence, assertiveness, self-esteem, and confidence, as well as demonstrating compassion, acceptance, consideration, and kindness. Adoption of essential values leads the nurse to a sense of commitment and social responsibility, sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs of others, and a responsibility for oneself and one’s actions (AACN, 2008).

The School of Nursing regards the following values, adapted from The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2008) as necessary for the professional nurse. Examples of attitudes, personal qualities, and professional behaviors are included that reflect a commitment to one or more of these values. Students are expected to adhere to these values and behaviors in all SoN initiatives.

Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors in Professional Nursing

Essential Values in Professional NursingExamples of Attitudes & BehaviorsExamples of Professional Behaviors in Nursing
ALTRUISM:
Concern for the welfare and well-being of others; reflected by the nurse’s concern for the welfare of patients, family members, society at large, other nurses, and other healthcare providers
· Caring
· Commitment
· Compassion
· Generosity
· Perseverance
-Understanding of cultures, beliefs, and perspectives of others
-Advocates for patents, particularly the most vulnerable
-Takes risks on behalf of patients and colleagues
-Mentors other professionals
AUTONOMY:
The right to self-determination; reflected when the nurse respects patients’ rights to make decisions about their health care.
· Confidence
· Hope
· Independence
· Openness
· Self-Direction
· Self-Discipline
· Boundary Sensitivity
-Plans care in partnership with patients
-Honors the right of patients and families to make decisions about healthcare
-Provides information so patients can make informed choices
HUMAN DIGNITY:
Respect for the inherent worth and uniqueness of individuals, families, and populations; reflected when the nurse values, respects, and upholds the rights of all patients and colleagues
· Consideration
· Respect
· Empathy
· Humaneness
· Kindness
· Trust
-Provides culturally competent and sensitive care
-Protects the patient’s privacy
-Preserves the confidentiality of patients and healthcare providers
-Designs care with sensitivity to individual patient needs
INTEGRITY:
Acting in accordance with an appropriate code of ethics and accepted standards of practice; reflected when the nurse is honest and provides quality care based on an ethical framework that is accepted within the profession
· Accountability
· Authenticity
· Honesty
· Inquisitiveness
· Rationality
· Reflectiveness
-Provides honest information to patients and the public
-Documents care accurately and honestly
-Seeks to remedy errors made by self or others
-Demonstrates accountability for own actions
SOCIAL JUSTICE:
Upholding moral, legal, and humanistic principles for all members of society; reflected when the nurse works to ensure equal treatment under the law and equal access to high quality health care
· Courage
· Integrity
· Risk-taking
· Morality
· Objectivity
· Conviction
-Supports fairness and non-discrimination in the delivery of care
-Demonstrates respect and human care for all persons
-Promotes universal access to healthcare
-Encourages legislation and policy consistent with the advancement of nursing and healthcare

Adapted from The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2008)