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Catholic social thought refers to the doctrine, which establishes a relationship between an individual and his society with a keen focus on the common good and human dignity (Bradley & Brugger, 2019). Several principles are corresponding to this doctrine which describes the relationship and responsibilities of people towards their society and vice versa. The purpose of this article is to present a reflection on the experience of the principle of catholic social thoughts. The article initially emphasises on explaining different principles after which their evidence from the future professional community are illustrated.
As per catholic social thoughts, an individual must see an image of God in every person irrespective of their conditions (Sison, Ferrero, & Guitián, 2016). People must develop thinking that every person has inherent dignity and sacred life. For this reason, an individual must respect the dignity of others despite the fact they have a different status, wellbeing and social stature. People must not be received or treated differently due to factors such as poverty, prosperity, gender, a race of others. Hence, the principle of dignity allows an individual to develop respect towards others and consider them as an image of God.
In Catholic social thought, the principle of common good emphasises on the social being of people. According to this principle, humans should experience the richness of life by establishing relationships in societies (Brady, 2017). People have the responsibilities to work towards common goods and must respect the rights of others in societies. The principle illustrates the social responsibilities of people beyond their interests. An individual must be committed to ensuring that rights and responsibilities of people in their societies and surrounding are being met (Scheid, 2015). This way, the catholic social thought focus on the common good, which should be performed or ensured by people living in societies.
Another principle in the catholic social thought is that of solidarity, which illustrates that individuals must act in a way that they assist or help their neighbours and fellows to acquire a life full of dignity and worth living (Roche, 2015). Solidarity as per this principle refers to the active role of an individual to help others in attaining full potential. Hence, the principle of solidarity describes justice as an essential aspect than charity to people. Individuals must not ignore the injustice being served to their peers, fellows and people in their surroundings. This way, people abiding by the catholic social thought must take actions for social justice.
Subsidiarity is also one of the major principles of catholic social thought. As per this principle, people must raise voice and take participation for decisions, which directly affects their life (Behr, 2019). Hence, the principle of subsidiarity emphasises on the rights that people have towards the decisions taken by governing authorities. Individuals must understand the perceptions of other people and account them before taking any decision. Also, the participation of groups and individuals is necessary towards the common good and shared unified vision. People in societies or organisations must take decisions according to the interests and benefits of all individuals.
The four principles of catholic social thoughts, which are described above, are closely relevant to my area of practice and must be considered as a professional in a community in future. I am a student of nursing background due to which my area of practice and community in future will be that of healthcare. After completing my graduation, I will focus on establishing my career as a professional nurse in local communities. My professional practices will include principles of catholic social thought.
Nurses are required to assist all patients and individuals irrespective of their social and financial conditions in healthcare facilities. As a professional nurse in future, I will try to ensure that I will be respecting the dignity of every patient. I cannot bring differences in my duties and responsibilities to different patients based on the economic wellbeing, class, race or another factor. Nurses need to consider that all patients are equal and should be treated in the same manner (Kagan, Smith, & Chinn, 2014). They must respect the innate dignity of patients and should consider them as a human whose life has equal worth. Hence, it can be said that in the healthcare sector principles of human dignity, as described in the catholic social thought, are brilliantly applicable. Ignorance of this principle in professional nursing practices may raise the question on the ethics and moral grounds of an individual. Patients who are living in extreme poverty should not be deprived of their dignity, and scenarios of mistreatment must be avoided.
Also, it can be said that the principle of the common good is equally applicable in nursing fields, which are described in the catholic social thought. Nurses need to assist patients as well as their family members in a way to enhance their experiences. Also, they need to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of patients in healthcare facilities are being met. Patients may provide more information to nurses about their health and wellbeing if they have good experiences (Fowler & Sawatzky, 2011). Therefore, nurses need to treat patients has friends and acquire their trust. I will also follow the same practices as a professional nurse in future and will focus on enhancing the experiences of patients and ensure that their right is being met. It is one of the crucial aspects that determine the efficiency of nurses. Hence, the principle of the common good is also applicable in my professional area of practice.
Further, I can also say that the principle of solidarity can also be seen being applied in the professional nursing field. Nurses are required to ensure that no patient is barred from the justice or right he deserves (Thompson, 2015). They must consider it as their duties to provide the right knowledge to patients as well as their family members. For example, a patient is having trouble in acquiring a costly treatment due to financial constraints; then, nurses and healthcare workers are required to provide information about the alternative measures and cost-effective treatments available. Hence, healthcare workers need to ensure that proper justice is being delivered in the healthcare facility to patients (Roche, 2015). Nurses should recognise their responsibilities towards patients and assist them in achieving full potential. This way, the principle of solidarity can enhance the working of professionals in the nursing area.
In healthcare practices, the principle of subsidiarity is also applicable because the functionality of nurses is determined through the decisions taken by management or governing authorities. In this manner, it becomes crucial for nurses to provide their opinion and perception, which may help the authorities to take feasible decisions for the common good (Bradley & Brugger, 2019). Nurses need to raise voice against the decisions, which may affect their functionality and efficiency while delivering services in communities. If, decisions are found affecting the service delivery or performance of nurses; then, they should make authorities informed of it (Behr, 2019). For that reason, I will be following the principle of subsidiarity, while working as a professional nurse serving the community. I will provide suggestions to decision-makers about the impacts of developed strategies in healthcare facilities on the patients as well as on my performance.
Behr, T. (2019). Social Justice and Subsidiarity Luigi Taparelli and the Origins of Modern Catholic Social Thought. USA: Catholic University of America Press
Bradley, G. & Brugger, C. (2019). Catholic Social Teaching A Volume of Scholarly Essays. UK: Cambridge University Press
Brady, B. (2017). Essential Catholic Social Thought. USA: Orbis Books
Fowler, M. & Sawatzky, R. (2011). Religion, Religious Ethics and Nursing. UK: Springer Publishing Company
Kagan, P., Smith, M. & Chinn, P. (2014). Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing Social Justice as Praxis. USA: Taylor & Francis
Roche, M. D. (2015). Schools of Solidarity Families and Catholic Social Teaching. USA: Liturgical Press
Scheid, D. P. (2015). The Cosmic common good: religious grounds for ecological ethics. UK: Oxford University Press.
Sison, A. J. G., Ferrero, I., & Guitián, G. (2016). Human dignity and the dignity of work: Insights from Catholic social teaching. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(4), 503-528.
Thompson, M. (2015). Introducing Catholic Social Thought. USA: Orbis Books
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