Exploring the Importance of Caring in Nursing

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Foundations of Health and Social Care

Amanda Reddin

Word count = 2182

In this essay I am going to show the importance of caring in nursing, and how it promotes high standards of care. Caring can be described in many ways, such as showing empathy, compassion and respect. Most caring theories incorporate all of these qualities. Every patient has complex individual needs and each patient interprets high standards in a different way.

As a student nurse I am privileged to be in a position to care for a person when they are often at their most vulnerable and in need of the most help and protection. This responsibility can be overwhelming, and at times a nurse’s life can be filled with sadness and a feeling of being powerless. Often people die and this leaves a footprint in your memory forever. This burden is one I feel you have to choose to bare; you have to make a connection with a patient and share a moment in life together to deliver person-centred care. Person-centred care is the central philosophy, the foundation for the responsibilities and functions of nursing; focusing on the person with an illness not the disease the person has (RCN, 2003). I have heard other nurses say that they get used to death and dying and feel nothing for the person who has died. I am told I will become indifferent to death in a few years as well. I have worked in the caring profession for twenty years and have cared for many dying people, I can remember each person and acknowledge that this event has a contribution to who I am and the nurse I will become. This burnout is not caused by delivering compassionate care but by working with no personal satisfaction for the work you do, and attending to tasks rather than people (Accad, 2011;Youngson, 2009). Creating a connection with someone and knowing that you have made a positive difference in that person’s life determines your ability to function as a nurse. This belief is core to who I am; how I developed or learnt this ability to care I don’t know, I cannot recall one great event that made me who I am. It follows the debate as to whether caring is a moral, social, ethical or spiritual value. If you have nursed someone then you have cared for them, one is bound by the other. From the belief that a person comes into existence and that a person’s essence emerges as he or she gets older, this essence, importantly, is what the person chooses to make it (Brykczynska, 1997). You can make the choice to care and the choice to learn how. Delivering person-centred care means delivering high quality care. Again, one cannot be present without the other; making sure someone has a drink, or holding someone’s hand and stroking their hair to calm them as they are dying because you can see the fear in their eyes, is caring ‘about’ the person, not just caring ‘for’ the person. If you nurse a person in a caring way then you are attending to all their needs whether physical or emotional, you are enabling them, advocating for them and giving a piece of yourself, by doing this you are giving high standards of patient care and satisfaction.

Watson describes caring as transpersonal caring which is ‘when the nurse seeks to recognize, accurately detect and connect with the inner condition of spirit of another through genuine presencing and being centred in the caring moment; actions, words, behaviours, cognition, body language, feelings, intuition, thought, senses, the energy field, and so on, all contribute to transpersonal caring connection. The nurse’s ability to connect with another at this transpersonal spirit-to-spirit level is translated via movements, gestures, facial expressions, procedures, information, touch, sound, verbal expressions and other scientific, aesthetic, and human means of communication’ (Watson, 1996; Watson, 2002). In the last few decades caring has been recognised as a quality needed to achieve high standards of practice and patient...
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