Personal Values PaperYeEun (Grace) OhAzusa Pacific University Personal Values Many nursing scholars emphasize the significance of understanding a nurse’s moral development and the study of ethics as they provide a framework for a nurse to deal with challenges and dilemmas in clinical settings (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013; Fowler, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to understand how diverse cultural experiences and Christianity influence my personal and moral development by exploring personal characteristics, faith beliefs, cultural values, individual experience, and professional values.
Personal CharacteristicsScholarly literature emphasizes the significance of parents’ role in a family in terms of an individual’s character and moral development as it plays a role as a medium of moral sensitivity, moral judgment, and behaviors (Dunn, Brown, & Maguire, 1995; Kohlberg, 1964). Therefore, my parents are a major influencer on my personal character development. My parents are educators and minister, respectively. My father is a professor teaching theology and social work for graduate students while my mother is the first nursing professor who addressed and researched spiritual care in nursing in South Korea.
Surrounded by Christian scholars who advance God through their professional excellence, I naturally grew admiration for intelligence by realizing the significance of the educational and professional development. My parents are financially supportive of my educational and professional development as they believe education is a framework for personal and professional integration. As my parents’ marriage began with sharing their commitment to God, they have tried to raise me as a person who puts God first in my life.
My parents do not just want me to survive in the Christian life, but also want me to thrive in all of His creation. My parents were exemplifying a life putting God first through their decision-making process based on Biblical principles. I have witnessed countless moral choices they have made based on Biblical principles in difficult and challenging situations. Before having a personal faith, their choice seemed unnecessarily sacrificial, wasteful, and unintelligent. However, throughout my parents’ life, not only have I witnessed blessing as a result of the decision-making based on Biblical principles, it later increases resilience in challenging situations by providing meaning and values in God. As the first-born child of the pastor and the professor who got married later in life, I grew up receiving much love and attention from my parents. My father always begins conversations with me by reminding me of my birth story in my childhood because he wanted me to remember how meaningful my presence was to them and God. He later explained to me that he wants me to have a strong self-identity and self-esteem. This intimate relationship with parents sustained me during challenges and difficult period in my studies abroad.My parents also instilled the appreciation of nature and the arts. My father took me on many trips to places like lake Jinyangho. Then, he would set me on his lap and made poetry together, making up a line at a time. My mother, who plays the violin, used to play with me by making connections among music, orchestra, and God. I was able to develop expressive, sensitive, insightful, and creative characteristic trait by developing an appetite for appreciation of nature and the arts. Observing and growing up under parents who embedded in their lives in love of God and appreciation of His creation, I was greatly impacted by values and ethics they have instilled in me through their parenting. Faith BeliefsNot only had I grown up with Christian cultural traditions, values, and ethics through my parents, but also I decide to become a Christian upon high school graduation through my own challenges and sufferings in my times abroad. Being a Christian means believing in Jesus Christ and choosing to live a life following Jesus Christ. In my faith tradition, I view humanity as a subject to be dignified and respected as it is created in an image of God. God gives me direction in my life, but He also gives me free will to choose the direction. Therefore, I not only make decisions based on what my faith tradition has taught me, but also based on my experience, reason, and scriptures as suggested in Wesleyan quadrilateral (Kilian & Parker, 2001). Throughout my experience, I have learned that God is the only subject to trust while His creation is subject to love. Therefore, the meaning of life is a gradual process increasing attachment to God, but detaching from His creation by finding ultimate joy in Him.Cultural ValuesWhen I first came to the United States, due to previous exposure of western individualistic culture and eastern collectivistic culture, I did not feel any cultural difference. On the other hand, as a female international student who studied abroad in Japan, Philippines, Canada, and the United States from my early developmental years, I identified myself as a third culture kid, who is culturally placed in an ambiguous in-between position (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 2003). Not only was I limited, vulnerable, and minority in new cultural environments, but I had to re-establish my existing identity by acculturating to new mainstream culture. Then, when I returned to my own culture, I again experienced reverse culture shock. I experienced repetitive identity formation and re-formation under each different culture. Then, I finally found my ultimate culture as Christianity as it is my traditional culture I belong to fro my birth. In Korea’s traditional patriarchal culture, the father has the authority to make important decisions to advocate their family. However, as my parents are limited to advocate for me due to cultural, geographical, and linguistic distance, I am in the position to make major decisions alone and to learn early negative consequences resulting from my careless decisions. Therefore, I make decisions based on validated resources and professional advice and explore different aspects of the issue. Then, after understanding different aspects of the issue, I examine the issue based on Biblical principles, theological perspectives, and church tradition as my parents showed me. Individual ExperiencesExploring diverse socio-dynamic throughout my father’s ministry within underserved community and studies abroad, I was an observer and a subject of vulnerability and suffering. This personal experience fueled my intellectual curiosity in exploring the issue of human needs, vulnerability, suffering, and interpersonal care in order to increase an individual’s quality of life. This intellectual interest in human and quality of life lead me to major in nursing and minor in psychology during my undergraduate years. The science of nursing has provided me an efficient tool to assess, intervene, and evaluate human’s holistic needs while the art of nursing has guided the dimension of my nursing care. In addition, through the research project I participated in, I found how acculturation affects immigration families’ quality of life as one’s acculturation issue can extend to the whole family’s burden. My academic curiosity turned into my intellectual tenacity to search for the solutions by broadening and deepening knowledge, skills, and approach to issues.Professional ValuesThere are five virtues in health care: compassion, discernment, trustworthiness, integrity, and conscientiousness (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). There is no less important value in health care, but I personally value integrity as it is a basis of compassion, discernment, trustworthiness, and conscientiousness encountering moral and ethical dilemmas in the clinical setting. To be specific, working as a nurse in step down unit, I have encountered patients at the end stage of their lives. Both patients and family caregivers suffer from low quality of life-related to loss of human dignity and respect. Based on my personal and professional understanding of the issue, I provide compassionate and conscientious care. This establishes a rapport with my patients by increasing trustworthiness of my care. This positive relationship with my patients and family members intensifies my motive to promote beneficence, maleficence, and respect for patient’s autonomy in clinical settings. Furthermore, my professional and ethical responsibility to become a part of the solution for aging, quality of life, and caregiver burnout, I am pursuing higher education and getting involved in professional organizations. Nurses’ moral, personal, and professional integration not only allows them to survive from challenges and dilemmas in nursing but allow to thrive in their profession by finding their identity (Fowler, 2015). My personal and professional integration not only make me realize issues and dilemmas in clinical settings, but also make me yearn to be a leader who can bring meaningful, purposeful, and practical solutions in clinical settings. ConclusionTo conclude, Fowler (2015) state in the process of becoming a professional, the nurse embraces the values of the profession, integrating them with personal values (p. 77). Examining personal character development, faith beliefs, cultural, individual and professional values, it shows how my personal values have achieved, maintained, and ultimately developed into professional ethics through diverse cultural experiences and Christianity. Therefore, nurses’ personal integrity not only shape professional identity to nursing, but also provide values, meaning, and ethics to overcome barriers in nursing practice. ReferencesBeauchamp, T. & Childress, J. (2013). Principles of biomedical ethics. New York: Oxford University Press. Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. (2013). Ethics and issues in contemporary nursing. Nelson Education. Dunn, J., Brown, J. R., & Maguire, M. (1995). The development of children’s moral sensibility: Individual differences and emotion understanding. 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