Disrespect In Nursing

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Respect is a recognized concept that is found in nursing standards worldwide; however, the means of applying respect in practice, beyond autonomy, is ambiguous. The College of Nurses of Ontario defines respect as recognizing the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of all people equally (College of Nurses of Ontario [CNO], 2006, p. 3). Nevertheless, vague definitions lack guidance for practical use. In every interaction a nurse has, respect is essential. Conversely, authentic respect is more important than merely its presence (Gallagher, 2007). Utilizing personal experiences from intensive care nurses in Shalof’s novel, “A Nurse’s Story: A Life, Death, and In-Between in an Intensive Care Unit” (Shalof, 2005), this piece will further show how nursing…show more content…
Grissinger (2017) describes that “the stressful nature of the health care environment and human nature plays a role in such destructive behaviour” (p. 74). Although patients and families are known as a source of disrespect (Shalof, 2005, p. 54), nurses are equally liable for exhibiting disrespectful behaviour. The CNO (2006) acknowledges that one of the most prevalent sources of disrespect stems from a nurse’s inability to accept the nature of a patient’s health problem (p. 3). Shalof (2005) describes an instance where she could not bring herself “to speak to this creature” (p. 203). The “creature” was a 19-year-old male suffering from a genetic disorder, which left him with numerous medical problems and severe physical deformities (Shalof, 2005, p. 202). Such dehumanizing remarks only contribute to the larger problem. Zimmerman and Amori (2004) admit that health care organizations have fed into disrespectful behaviour by ignoring it, thereby tacitly accepting it as a norm (p. 15). Nevertheless, disrespect cannot be a norm. All parties need to address disrespectful situations, especially in environments where nurse’s work is seen as…show more content…
Nursing is a profession that is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. In order to effectively manage these hardships, nurses need to be aware of their shortcomings and seek support from others. Unfortunately, the problem lies in nurses not addressing their sufferings. According to Kelly (1996), “to know something is wrong and say nothing, we indirectly consent to what has occurred and we become a part of the problem” (p. 32). At the beginning of her nursing career, Shalof (2005) expressed her feelings of inadequacy in critical thinking, intuition, and courage (p. 72) but did not open up to others. However, as time progressed and Shalof (2005) became a more experienced nurse, she had the courage to ask for a change in assignment when she felt she was too emotionally involved (p. 106).

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