Values are the cornerstone of every healthcare organization. When expressed and put into action, values become the living energy of the organization (Human Science). An organization’s mission and vision statements clearly define the culture of the organization and its means to complete the defined mission. When each member of an organization takes accountabilty for their part in maintaining the core values, it will excel in its mission and become a conerstone in its community. The values I adhere to in my life and in my profession are integrity, compassion, knowledge and accountability. I would feel like a lost piece of a jigsaw puzzle if my core values were not integrateable into my place of employment.
Core values are ingrained in a person; learned and built upon over time. When a person commits themselves to an organization, they will incorprate their personal values into their professional practice. I believe that the values I adhere to are also a few of the fundamental values from which a nurse bases her practice. A nurse that portrays integrity in her practice exudes respect, trust and just morals. Compassion is at the core of every nurse with an internal energy to be kind and considerate when encountering a person in the midst of suffering. A nurse that seeks knowledge provides the best quality patient care in an ever changing practice. Accountability is witnessed when responsibilty is set as a cornerstone of practice and consequences for actions are accepted open-mindedly and with self-reflection.
I believe that these core values are what I bring to my orgainzation helping to maintain a culture of respect and trust. The mission statement of my organization cites “providing it’s community with excellent services offered with dignity, caring, and respect.” The vision statement uses “caring” as it’s core value while incorporating concern and respect for the diginity of others, appreciation for and cooperation among the members of the organization, recognition in utilizing resources prudently, integration of exemplary healthcare, nurturing, and governance with integrity and openness. My organization also cites offering compassion and respect for it’s patient’s, their families and the organization’s staff. The ever changing organizational structure of my employer strives to maintain these core values as it molds and conforms to societies’ needs and wants. My organiztion has printed their vision statement onto cards which were laminated and dispensed to all staff.
As an employee this feels like a marketing ploy as much as a reminder of what our values are supposed to be. Although it does frequently review its resources in an attempt to utilze them prudently and efficiently as called out in the vision statement, it feels as though the decisions are based on finances more than on patient outcomes. This behaviour exemplifies more of a bureaucracy where there is a centralized authority governing the collective activites of the organization. My organization appears to be a hybrid structure providing staff with the authority to make decisions and the accountability that goes along with that decision. There are Unit Practice Councils that meet to make decisions on direct patient care with the input of all staff. The Unit Practice Council then presents its suggestions to a unit director who brings it to the director of nursing for approval. If a change in workflow is agreed upon, then it is instituted across all similar services throughout the organization.
Although the decision may have been a democratic one, ultimately it can be denied by executive officers with little or no explanation as to its denial. This behavior undermines staff morale and leads to cynicism and sometimes even unethical practices by direct patient care staff. As an organization actively involved in obtaining Magnet recognition, my organization has become a shared-governance structure. As it evolves through the stages of shared governance, the nurses must adjust to new assignments of decision-making and accountability. Once in phase three of the shared-governance structure, there will be less animosity towards executive committees by the nursing staff. The staff, including myself, will feel that they are empowered to express their personal values. The staff can feel responsible for their own actions without placing blame on executives and hold each other more accountable for specific tasks.
The value of integrity will come forth during this evolution as staff accept more responsibilty. The profession of nursing holds its own core values. When an organization expresses simliar values, it empowers the staff to be more integrated with the organization itself. Healthcare is moving towards a shared-governance structure where staff can express themselves and feel less encumbered by bureaucracy. During this evolution traditional roles and structures are broken down creating some confusion and frustration which leads to poor morale. As the organization focuses on it’s core values and encourages it’s leaders to embrace and express those values each and every day, the confusion and resulting morale with become more focused and positive (Yoder-Wise, 2011). Accountability just might be “the” core value in healthcare. An organization that takes accountability for its chaos during this evolution, can support and encourage its members in a positive and effective manner.
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