Explanation and discussion of Nightingale Pledge
Nightingale Pledge is a popular declaration of values for the nursing career (McDonald, 2004). The statement was written and adopted in the year1893. The pledge states, “I solemnly commit myself in front of God and in the attendance of this gathering, to permit my life in decency and to practice my career devotedly.
I will desist form of anything that is harmful and mischievous. I will not engage or deliberately dispense any deleterious medication. I will undertake everything in my authority to promote the standard of my career. I will uphold self-confidence in all private matters in the day-to-day acts of my career.
With devotion, I will strive to help the doctors in their tasks and dedicate myself to the well-being of individuals devoted to my care” (McDonald, 2004). As such, the declaration comprises modern legal and moral features of nursing and illustrates the early stages of the interconnection between regulations and the nursing profession. It was titled the Florence Nightingale Pledge to pay respect to the pioneer of current nursing.
As indicated above, the declaration is an avowal of the morals and values of the nursing career. It encompasses a promise to refrain from whatever is harmful and ill-behaved. The oath also comprises of a promise to strive to offer care to patients regardless of their locations or their backgrounds. In the year 1935, the declaration was broadened to permit nurses to be missioners of health devoted to the progression of human well-being. Nurses have declaimed the oath before graduating from nursing schools.
The historical role of Nightingale Pledge
The oath’s roles were adopted from the Hippocratic Pledge. The pledge required medical doctors to take an oath before Apollo (McDonald, 2004). In the oath, the doctors would promise to cure the sick, as their fathers would do. They also promised to teach their students free of charge.
In the pledge, they also promised to act in the interest of the patients by safeguarding their privacy. They also promised not to engage in surgical treatment, euthanasia, or procure an abortion. By then, surgical treatment was perceived as an isolated job from being a doctor.
Twenty-first-century medical schools use a variety of modified oaths with different principles. Ever since the year 1893, the pledge has been utilized as the chief code of morals in nursing (Seedhouse, 2010). In healthcare, being aware of ethical issues and integrating them into daily decision-making processes decreases nurses’ likelihood of committing costly mistakes.
Therefore, the pledge has been useful in enhancing ethics in healthcare for decades. Before the adoption of the current code of ethics in nursing, the pledge was very useful in offering students a basis for formulating their philosophies. It offered an aim and a purpose for nursing engagements such as morals, safety, and privacy.
The pledge has been useful in all nurses departments. As such, nurses in patient care departments, management departments, teaching departments, and research departments have utilized it. The pledge has affected several nurses’ roles because it influences their decision-making abilities.
Function and purpose
Nightingale Pledge acts as the basis of the nursing ethics guide. The term ethics refers to the study of peoples’ conduct based on their behaviors with the aim of stressing on the right and wrong. On the other hand, the dissimilarity between the ethical decision-making process and the usual decision-making process is that during the ethical decision-making process, an individual has to weigh values before settling on a judgment.
Therefore, the oath acts as a moral compass when nurses have to come up with ethical decisions during difficult circumstances. The circumstances comprise of cases where an individual might be terminally ill or where the probability of anguish or vulnerability is high (Watson, 2008). Nightingale Pledge is relevant in such situations because it offers a response to any ethical query. Through this, it enables nurses to continue with their responsibilities in a manner that illustrates accountability, authority, and confidence.
In nursing, the pledge commands that a nurse ought to operate with the needs of the clients and their family members (McDonald, 2004). Similarly, the pledge encourages nurses to work in accordance with physician’s orders and dispense care in an approach that does not harm anyone. Contrasting with personal wishes, nurses are obliged by the pledge and other nursing codes of ethics to highlight problems faced by the patients. Through this, they are able to uphold better results for the patient.
To reduce incidences of misconduct in nursing care, nursing schools have adopted the Nightingale Pledge in their curriculum (McDonald, 2004). The pledge offers nursing students with implicit rules and guidelines required before one is allowed to practice. In this regard, it can be argued that the Nightingale Pledge has enhanced the quality of education in nursing schools by ensuring that students are informed of the nursing code of ethics.
Ethical benefits and limitations
In healthcare, the significance of ethics and ethical decisions should be emphasized (McDonald, 2004). The above implies that during the ethical decision-making process, values, or morals play crucial roles in the outcome of the judgment. By abiding by the Nightingale Pledge, nurses have been able to sustain high ethical standards. The pledge encourages them to conform to appropriate moral values. Equally, the pledge encourages nurses to manage all patients equally and offer them comfort.
Since the year 1893, the pledge has been obligating nurses to prioritize the needs and interests of the patients when they are administering care (Thompson, 2006). Although the above moral responsibility remains unaffected to date, it should be noted that controversies linked with the pledge have risen. Owing to the obscurities of the phrases in the pledge, a number of nurses have requested for the review of Nightingale Pledge.
For instance, the use of “God,” “Purity,” and “Aid the physician in his work” have attracted heated debates. The words “God” and “Purity” can be understood in numerous ways. The use of these words has also been seen as discrimination against those who do not believe in the existence of God. Similarly, the use of the phrase “Aid the physician in his work” has attracted numerous debates from the feminists.
According to them, the use of the phrase discriminates against women doctors because it seems to promise allegiance to male doctors only. Based on the illustrations above, it is apparent that the pledge must be reviewed to match with modern practice.
Because of these appeals to have it reviewed, numerous nursing institutions have altered the pledge to be in accordance with their graduation requirements (McDonald, 2004). The above acts have led to the emergence of new issues. Some believe that alteration of the pledge will compromise on its intended purpose of safeguarding the patients’ interest.
Being healthcare workers, nurses ought to promise the masses that they are capable of assisting and helping the sick in society. Therefore, if the pledge is modified into dissimilar forms, confusion will arise. As such, nurses will understand their responsibilities in their own way leading to needless conflicts and strains among nurses.
Others also question Florence Nightingale’s credentials, which make her worthy of this respect (Risjord, 2010). Even though she is the pioneer of current nursing, she demonstrated unwanted qualities in her career. For instance, she failed to permit one of the British nurses to operate in her infirmary throughout the Crimean War. The above illustration implies that she does not deserve this respect as earlier perceived.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the Nightingale Pledge is a popular declaration of values for the nursing career. The oath’s roles were adopted from the Hippocratic Pledge. Hippocratic pledge required medical doctors to take an oath before Apollo. In the oath, the doctors would promise to cure the sick, as their fathers would do. The statement was adopted in the year1893. As indicated above, the declaration is an avowal of the morals and values of the nursing career.
It encompasses a promise to refrain from whatever is harmful and ill-behaved. The oath also comprises of a promise to strive to offer care to patients regardless of their locations or their backgrounds. From the year 1893, the pledge has been obligating nurses to prioritize the needs and interests of the patients when they are administering care. Even though the above moral responsibility remains unaffected to date, it should be noted that arguments linked with the pledge have risen.
McDonald, L. (2004). Florence Nightingale on public health care. Waterloo, Ont.: Wildfrid Laurier University Press.
Risjord, M. (2010). Nursing knowledge: Science, practice, and philosophy. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell Pub.
Seedhouse, D. (2010). Practical nursing philosophy the universal ethical code. Chichester: John Wiley.
Thompson, I. (2006). Nursing ethics (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Watson, J. (2008). Nursing: The philosophy and science of caring. Boulder, Colo.: University Press of Colorado.