Systematize: To arrange in accord with a definite plan or scheme. To put persons or things into their proper places; to straighten out so as to eliminate confusion.
—- Webster’s dictionary
Why did you become a nurse? I became a nurse because I felt – and still feel – a calling to care for people – to develop and deliver comprehensive holistic plans of health care based on a relationship that is developed over time. The goals of nursing – to care for the ‘whole person’ — not a disease or a problem to be solved – deeply resonate with me. We learn – and I continue to teach my students – that each of us, as human beings, is more than the sum of our biological, social, psychological and spiritual parts. My professional goals, as an educator and as a nurse practitioner (hyperlink https://www.aanp.org/) with certification in both mental health and family practice, is to encounter people where they are at in their health-disease state to promote health, prevent disease and help them mitigate the effects of illness, and eventually to die with dignity. As a professional nurse, this is accomplished through the lens of the nurse-patient relationship with the knowledge of the patient’s environment as well as the environment where care is provided.
The health care delivery system is designed to systematize—to straighten out and eliminate confusion. That is helpful and necessary. It is a process that requires relationship or partnership—after all, it basically is arranging things and people. For that reason, it won’t be perfect, and we can anticipate disagreement.
The public implicitly trusts us to have only their interests as our primary interest. And this trust is codified as the first provision in our Code of Ethics (https://anacalif.memberclicks.net/assets/Events/RNDay/2016%20code%20of%20ethics%20for%20nurses%20-%209%20provisions.pdf) – that we promise to advocate for our patients.
When I increasingly found myself at odds with the goals of nursing and the healthcare delivery system in which we practice, I began to ask myself: “Have I become systematized?”
Is nursing at risk of becoming systematized? How will we know?
Every so often, step back and ask yourself questions such as these:
Am I able to view my patient as a whole person who happens to have a disease process or do I take care of disease processes that happen to be a person? Who does the current health care system best serve? The organization? The physician? The patient? Am I viewed by my employer as a cog in the assembly line of the health care system or am I viewed with respect where my opinion is valued? Are my actions asked to serve the system more than the patient?
Push back if you are becoming “systematized.” A system worth working for will view your perspective as worthwhile and valued. Health care systems are aiming to be patient centered. Health care systems will start to ask and solicit more input from nurses. As patient centered care experts we can expect to be asked, we want to be asked and we know that we have something to add. When nurses advocate for patients and for our practice, we are also advocating for the health care system.
Keep up the good work! Friends of Flo believe in YOU!