Compassion: The Foundation of Nursing

Many definitions for nursing are much finer than I could devise. The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines nursing as "The protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations." I agree, but where is the compassion. Nursing originates from an inward sense of compassion and duty that drives a nurse to assess the individual and environment, to determine obstacles preventing optimal health; so changes can be suggested and discussed collaboratively, and, once agreed upon, implemented to provide excellent patient care.

The ANA' s definition does not mention compassion. Compassion is the centerpiece for nursing. Florence Nightingale reflects frequently on how patients perceive their world and how it feels to be the patient. When a nurse allows herself to feel for a patient, it stirs a sense of passion and urge for action. In addition, the perception of a patient allows the nurse perspective to observe obstacles to heeling.

To overcome obstacles the nurse must work as a member of team, always advocating for her patients, using tools of effective communication. When nurses become leaders of organizations, they retain their responsibilities to patients under their care. Nursing skills are then used to ensure the environment of the health care system provides excellent care.

The opportunity to be part of the Health Care Systems Management program will sharpen my ability to work collaboratively, expand my knowledge, and sharpen my communication skills. Combined with my sense of duty and compassion to patients, I hope to develop as a health care professional and become a leader in the field of nursing