Nursing and social responsibility: inextricably linked

Nurses are some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in the entire sector. In fact, they are even more trusted than doctors in many national and international surveys. This means that nurses are doing a great job of working with patients, but also that they carry a lot of responsibility when it comes to patient care.

What exactly does social responsibility mean and how is it applied to the nursing profession? Keep reading to learn more.

What is social responsibility?

Social responsibility is not a clear-cut concept and cannot be fully explained in the same way that anatomy or chemistry lessons can be. Generally, social responsibility in healthcare means that the healthcare system and professionals act with an awareness of the needs of their community and community members. This means providing helpful services and acts such as free or low-cost clinics and public health education.

Nurses are on the front lines of healthcare in ways that doctors simply are not. Nurses interact directly with their patients and are there to speak with family members, explain concepts, answer questions, and discuss care plans. Some people will need more social care than others, and sometimes nurses will be able to read between the lines of what they are being told to discover what is really wrong­­ or if anything else could be happening.

Social responsibility is something that we need to be taught — and there should be a focus on educating new students so that they know what to look for, can practice their communication and care skills, and are aware of additional resources they can suggest to patients.

Called to care

For many nurses, the profession is a calling rather than just another profession. This is because nursing involves working with the public very closely and working with people who are oftentimes at their most vulnerable and frightened.

Many nurses choose the profession because they want to bring comfort to people who are confused and suffering in the healthcare system. It is certainly not an easy job and many nurses suffer from burnout — and have done so particularly during the COVID-19 crisis.

As a way to thank nurses for their care and dedication, there is National Nurses Day which is celebrated every year. There is a huge demand for nurses across the United States and the appreciation for nurses is only growing as the need for more nurses worsens.

Right now, it is easier than ever before for those who feel called to become a nurse to jump into the nursing profession. Universities such as Baylor University now offer remote programs that allow students to take graduate and postgraduate degrees in nursing in their own time, as online programs are incredibly flexible.

Hopefully, as the need for more nurses grows and the job outlook continues to look more and more promising, there will be an influx of new students who are interested in joining the nursing profession.

COVID-19 and nursing

The Covid pandemic changed the way that tens of millions of people (if not more) thought about the healthcare sector and healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, not everyone acted graciously toward the nurses, doctors, and support staff who kept clinics and hospitals running throughout the pandemic.

The outright hostility that many healthcare professionals experienced during the pandemic, together with the incredibly long and gruelling hours, led many of them to reconsider their career path and start looking at what other options they could pursue. This is just one example that illustrates just how important it is to show gratitude to nurses who work incredibly long and hard hours and who find time to still engage with their patients and perform social techybio responsibility.

Thankfully, the pandemic has subsided, but the COVID-19 pandemic has really demonstrated just how important it is for nursing unions to be strong and for nurses themselves to practice self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone, but nurses should take time every day to care for their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing so that they are strong enough to provide care to others.

Public health education

Other than demonstrating just how important self-care is, the varied public response to the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the significance of effective and clear public health education. Millions of people have refused basic care such as vaccinations and many have lost their lives as a direct result of misinformation and distrust of the healthcare sector. Thousands of other people have hurt themselves through trying out untested remedies such as hydroxychloroquine and horse dewormers.

It is incredibly important for the public to trust public health agencies and to follow the government sanctioned advice that is given. The trust between the public and the healthcare sector is badly broken at the moment, but that does not mean that it cannot be rebuilt.

One way to slowly rebuild trust is through social responsibility in nursing. This means that nurses are able to gradually regain trust and faith in healthcare institutions by engaging directly and being present with their patients.

While working closely with patients and providing them with as many resources as possible may be time consuming, in the long run it could mean that the individual walks away from their visit to a hospital or clinic feeling a little differently about the healthcare sector as a whole. In time, this could have the result of slowly encouraging the person to actively seek care when they need it and to trust the professional advice of healthcare professionals.

Clearly, social responsibility is an incredibly important aspect of nursing.

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