Unfortunately,the Hippocratic Oath and Nightingale Pledge are not legally binding.Rather, they are oaths taken by an individual before those who arewith them and before God. Both are oaths where the individualpromises to live a life free from deceit, and to practice theirprofession with honor, giving a few specific examples. (Summingthings up without going into every detail) However, it seems that theHippocratic Oath is losing favor due to “outmoded requirements andprohibitions” (Melissa, 2013). Some of those are the use of aknife, abortion, and the requirement to swear to Apollo. So, somehave altered the oath to be more modern and leaves out those partswhich are seen as not relevant to our modern society. Whatever theopinion of many people, the idea of the oath, old or renewed, is toremind that health care providers belong to something larger thanthey are individually, and even just one profession in health care. Ithink people like the idea of a physician or nurse taking an oathbecause of the seriousness and importance of their position insociety, and they hope they will hold themselves to higher thanaverage standing.If a nurse applies the simple things listed inthe Nightingale Pledge, it would be very hard to find fault in theircare of the patient. A summary of the Nightingale Pledge (ANA,2015):- Live a pure life, be a professional.- Do notcause harm/trouble.- Do not take or give harmful medication.-Be proactive in your profession in all areas, includinglegislation.- Maintain confidentiality completely.-Assist the physician, do not undermine or belittle them behind theirback.- Give committed care to your patient.Such simpleways to sum up what a nurse should do each and every day at work.Living by example is so important. We think we get to preach to thepatient about health, while we smoke, avoid exercise, or fail to keepour weight in check. We gossip way too much. Even when we try not to,it’s still happening too much. Medication errors are a seriousproblem because they can put a person’s health in serious harm.But, also, do not take harmful medication yourself. Do not take thosethings which are illegal or immoral. Marijuana might be legal where Ilive, but I understand that I cannot use it legally under my license.Being a part of making changes for the better is an amazing thing. Ihope one day I get a glimpse of how wonderful that might feel. It’snot just doing good for the patient, but for your profession andothers within that profession.Confidentiality is now alegal issue, with real consequences if you fail to keep your mouthshut! We do not need to have an “us” and “them” attituderegarding doctors and the team members we work with. Saying negativethings about anyone is unprofessional and should be avoided, even ifit is true. But, this is not the same as venting, which I think issomething people need to do to keep from exploding from some of thestress involved in working within the health care system. It’s afine line, but an important distinction to me. Finally, giving greatcare is why we do what we do. Whatever our feelings might be, givinggreat care is an integral part of our profession. It is why we arehonored for becoming nurses, why people trust us with the intimatedetails of their lives, and why we probably became nurses in thefirst place. I like the look on someone’s face, even someone Imight not like very much, when I set my feelings aside and give. Justgiving makes such a difference.Like I said at thebeginning, if a nurse will follow these simple ideas, there will beno doubt as to what type of nurse they are to those they work aroundand to their patients. Trust will have been earned and the ability toinfluence for good will grow. For me, I judge myself against myself.I told some friends last night that I felt bad because I had donesomething out of anger at work. Others felt I was justified, but Iheld myself to a higher standard and decided I needed to change. Ican be petty, meting out justice of my own, but then I have not livedup to the standards of the Nightingale Pledge. When I “take thehigher road”, so to speak, I feel better because I am better. Theworld can live any way they want, I will not judge them, I only judgemyself and seek to improve myself because that is the only thing Iknow and understand so completely as to comprehend how marvelous thepositive changes are. I can only comprehend how I “used to be”compared to “how I am now”, marveling at the change and ponderinghow it occurred. I think if we gently share our own amazement at howgreat we feel in doing good and following the pledge we can influenceothers who may have lost their way.
Accordingto the answer, the Nightingale Pledge does not bind any nurse legallyto their duty as a nurse. The fact that the oath is taken beforefellow men and before God does not mean that failure to follow it canresult to any repercussions. Consequently the oath has lost itsmeaning especially in the modern day society where health care issueshave become more complex. Issues such as abortion have been acceptedin some instances. This is contrary to the nightingale oath. Peoplehave opted to omit those sections that seem non-compliant to today’spractice.
Thewriter however argues that the Nightingale Pledge remains a strongguide for nurses as individuals to taking the nursing profession togreater standards. One becomes committed to himself by taking theoath and it does not matter whether or not the society considers itor not. For example, if marijuana is legal in one’s state, a nurseis not supposed to give it to a patient or take it himself as we allknow that it is a harmful drug. I like the writer’s answer as heclearly separates the oath from the legal or professional ethics thatbinds a nurse to his duty. References:ANA. (2015).Florence Nightingale Pledge. Retrieved from ANA American NursesAssociation:http://nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/AboutANA/WhereWeComeFrom/FlorenceNightingalePledge.aspxMelissa.(2013). Doctors Aren`t Bound by the Hippocratic Oath. Retrieved fromToday I Found Out:http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/11/doctors-arent-bound-hippocratic-oath/
Anurse’s fundamentals duties are driven by numerous forces as we areguided between multiple opinions to take the correct course ofaction. Nurses` are expected to uphold their own values and ethics aswell as the ethics they pledged to uphold. These guidance systemsallow nurses to fulfill the day to day duties to provide exceptionalpatient care. The Hippocratic Oath influences nurses to use that assupportive source to provide care that prevents harm and injustice,while protecting the lives of all patients through empathetic care(Purtilo & Doherty, 2012). The modified Hippocratic oath or bestknown as the Nightingale pledge assists nurses to reflect and operatein a manner that upholds professional values, as well as, with theintentions to perform benevolent actions for each patient population(ANA, 2015). Both guidance systems is fundamental in providing theroots or rationales for a nurses` actions and provides values toformulate a solution to problems to promote health or healing.
ReferencesAmericanNurses Association(ANA). (2015). Florence Nightingale Pledge.Retrieved fromhttp://nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/AboutANA/WhereWeComeFrom/FlorenceNightingalePledge.aspx
Purtilo,R., & Doherty, R. (2012). Ethical dimensions in the healthprofessions (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. ISBN-13:9781437708967
Therespondent appreciates the complexity in nursing decision making.Nurses are faced with dilemmas that sometimes go beyond the legal orprofessional code of ethics. When it comes to such a point, then thenightingale pledge acts as a guide and helps nurses make wisedecisions. The answer is not explorative of the changes that modernnursing faces but appreciates the role played by the NightingalePledge in helping nurses make decisions.