Patients treated in hospitals require quality healthcare, and this is the mandate of the facility/staff. The administration is responsible for formulating and enforcing policies while the doctors and nurses are at the center of the implementation process. The nursing student who does not want to work with HIV patients has broken several ethical disciplines in the nursing profession. Professionalism in nursing is important because they have to interact with different patients suffering from various ailments. The first value that the student broke was respect for human dignity. Human dignity is like an individual’s sense of self-worth. The student’s failure to accept the task of taking care of the HIV patient is stigmatizing the patient and perceiving that they are lesser beings than others. In the nursing profession, patients should not be ostracized because of their ailments but should be made to feel just like any other human being.
Altruism is one of the fundamental ethical values that nurses should possess in their profession. Altruism is a trait that allows one to be selfless in helping of others and committed to assisting without reward. Nurses are supposed to take care of patients irrespective of patients suffering terminal disease. It is traumatizing to take care of patients who are terminally ill or are suffering on their deathbed but if no one can take care of them who will? It takes an act of confidence and the spirit for a nurse to take care of such patients and this is what quality healthcare treatment is all about. Student nurses should be taught that nursing is not only a career but a vocation/calling where one should dedicate to their work. It takes courage from the nurses to interact with terminally ill patients in the hospitals. Nurses should be devoted to the patient, the family and the society as a whole in carrying out their duties (Shih et al., 2009).
The third ethical value in the nursing profession broken by the student is responsibility. Nurses should be equally responsible for carrying their work, and they should not diffuse responsibility by perceiving that some cases are meant for other nurses while others are not. Nurses should take responsibilities towards their patients by providing the care they deserve no matter their circumstance. Nurses should have a holistic approach in undertaking their duties i.e. providing all the necessary support to the patients without discrimination.
Empathy and sympathy are what drives nurses in providing quality care and without these traits it would be difficult to connect with the patient. Empathy and sympathy are related even though different. Empathy is relating to people’s feelings without being emotionally affected while sympathy involves being emotionally affected. A nurse with empathy will do what has to be done, even though painful, for the patient’s recovery. A sympathetic nurse will feel sorry for a patient and try to do anything to prevent the pain. All of the patients are brought to the hospital with one disease or another. Therefore, nurses should expect to encounter those who feel more pain and should be ready to help them. Sympathy and empathy are disciplines that nurses need to have to help patients in pain such as HIV patients. Nurses should be able to share the patient’s mental and physical sufferings like in the Japanese culture (Wros, Doutrich & Izumi, 2004).
The last important ethical consideration is social justice in the nursing profession. Patients should be able to access quality care despite their circumstance such as medical condition, socio-economic status, age, sex, race, etc. Student nurses should be meant to understand that they will meet different people from different backgrounds and with different circumstances. They should be able to exude professionalism by treating them equally irrespective of status (Vryonides et al., 2014). All patients have the right to equal care and treatment from all the stakeholders in the healthcare industry.