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1: Introduction / Heading 1.
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Florence Nightingale in the 19th century authored “Notes on Nursing” in which she explains certain significant aspects to consider while nursing making the service exemplary and intact. Over the years with experience, there have been many transitions in the nursing practices and additions in the ethical standards. However, there exist certain similarities in the Nightingale’s version of nursing and the contemporary nursing practice which can are reflected in the current standards. This essay compares the traditional and modern standards by analysing the impact of historical, cultural and political factors on contemporary nursing. It then identifies the policies and frameworks that build the discipline of nursing along with examining the professional skills and attributes associated with the profession of nursing.
In Nightingale’s “Notes on Nursing” (1860), the major influence on the nursing practice comes from the general experience and nature of human beings at different stages of sickness. She believed that nurses must be conversant enough to be able to have a positive influence on the patients’ health. She mentions various factors to consider and follow so that the patient can have a smooth recovery from illness. The extreme details of nursing have been captured beautifully in her article. Nightingale’s key principals are still considered while nursing practice and also in health care decision making (McDonald, 2018). In her article, the moral qualities of the nurse are taken to be of more significance in nursing.
She highlights the fact that the little things done to refresh the mind and console the patient mentally affect the body itself. According to her, communication plays a significant role in making the patient feel better. From the sound of music to the interaction with other people, every aspect of the treatment journey contributes in its unique way.
International Council of Nurses (ICN, 2012) in its code of ethics discusses four fundamental responsibilities which are reflected in the four elements that form the system of ethical conducts. The primary element, Nurses and people promote the social responsibility of the nurses towards the public to provide an appropriate environment. The nightingale article of nursing also emphasis on having the best environment in which the patient gets healthy as early as possible. The second element, Nurses and practice, promote accountability for practice by maintaining competence and ethical behaviour. The third element, Nurses and profession, discusses the role of nurses in implementing research-based standards to sustain professional values. The last element, Nurses and co-workers, highlights a collaborative relationship with co-workers to advance ethical conduct. Notes on Nursing have focused on these elements in a more practical way. It depicts how nurses can put these elements in everyday use by examining certain scenarios. For example, nurses can foster their patients by reading aloud to them with serenity. In the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA, 2016), the standards discussed are a comprehensive reflection of Nightingales theory on nursing. It mentions seven standards to be followed by the registered nurses including critical thinking, involvement in therapeutic and professional relationships, the capability of practice, comprehensive assessments, a guideline for nursing practice to give appropriate quality and evaluate the outcomes. The similar paradigm has been specified by Nightingale. She also fixates on the fact that nurses must have a proper understanding of the assessments and critical thinking to analyse their patients’ needs and wants at every specific moment.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA, 2018), gives the guidelines for practising ethical code of nursing and mentions the legal compliance that nurses must adhere to under the National Law. Various principles mentioned here are quite similar to the ones depicted by Nightingale. Moreover, there is an upliftment of the codes to the extent that nursing has embraced advocacy as a professional construct. The codes also guide crucial issues like bullying and cultural safety. In the new era of social media, this concept is taken further to help the health practitioners abide by the obligations. To maintain professional standards and make them aware of the impact of their actions, the Australian Health Practioner Regulation Agency along with National Boards have published a new guideline for social media platforms (Nursing and Midwifery Board [NMBA], 2019).
Various historical and cultural factors have influenced the behaviour of contemporary health care practice. The extensive research and advancement in the health care sector have been a major contributor to the development that can be seen in current health practices. The cultural competency has proved to be a significant strategy to counter the inequalities and effectiveness in the present health care services (Bainbridge et al., 2015). The political influences through various programmes and regulations have expanded health care access and reduce financial risks. The legislative changes have kept the regulation up to date, the penalties for the same have increased to maintain strictness (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency [AHPRA], 2019). Professionals are regulated in the interest of the public to foster consistency with the purpose of the framework to demonstrate the application of principles.
Parallel to the aspects discussed by Nightingale, the current practices apply those ethics to its professional standards. The major attributes of nurse still demand effective communication and critical thinking be able to solve difficult and unique problems on the spot. The skills required by a professional to be followed are quite similar to the ethical and moral concepts discussed by her. The dominant factors of a quality nursing service remain intact. The desire of the health care provider to keep learning and growing its capability and being honest in their work is very significant. A core competence among the team and devotion to foster another human being is very crucial for this role.
The contemporary ethics of nursing can be viewed as more of a professional description of Nightingale’s traditional version of nursing standards. According to Nightingale, a route to faster recovery comes from the appropriate and positive environment of the patient which can be duly provided by the nurse. This can be seen in the current standards of hospitality by the nurses and other health care professionals. Nursing practices and standards today are influenced by deep background set up with holistic concepts of human nature, environment and health. The views of Nightingale on nursing theory became the precursors for the current ethics and actions in nursing and hospitality of a sick person. It is important to note that with the development and advancement of health sector has contributed majorly to provide a better facility but the ethics and morals of the nursing practice remain the base for successful fostering of the patient. All the cultural and legislative framework have shaped the nursing standards of Nightingale to form a professional code of conduct.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Legislation. (2019). Ahpra.Gov.Au. https://www.ahpra.gov.au/About-AHPRA/What-We-Do/Legislation.aspx
Bainbridge, R., Mccalman, J., Clifford, A., & Tsey, K. (2015). clearinghouse Closing the gap Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people. https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/4f8276f5-e467-442e-a9ef-80b8c010c690/ctgc-ip13.pdf.aspx?inline=true
International Council of Nurses. (2012). The ICN code of ethics for nurses. https://www.icn.ch/sites/default/files/inline-files/2012_ICN_Codeofethicsfornurses_%20eng.pdf
McDonald, L. (2018). Springer Publisher Company. Florence Nightingale, Nursing and health care today. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Uz8nDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=nightingale+notes+on+nursing+vs+contemporary+standards&ots=l-0cOy78go&sig=0wOsKKalSJ0iDzq_2d5eoMjZ0Y8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=nightingale%20notes%20on%20nursing%20vs%20contemporary%20standards&f=false
Nightingale, F. (1860). D. Appleton and Company. Notes on Nursing. What it is and what it is not.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2016). Registered nurse standards for practice.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2018). New codes of conduct take effect for nurses and midwives.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2019). New social media guide.
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