My duty to provide care

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I was once asked if I would neglect a patient’s needs to protect my own health.

This was not a question that I took time to negotiate, I instinctively answered, “no.” To deny my patient the care that is necessary to improve their health, would mean that I was not fulfilling my responsibility as a care giver. As a future nurse, I understand that I will soon be a role model and a health care provider for all of my clients, regardless of their well-being.

This I believe – it is my duty to provide care for each patient. I have chosen nursing to be my future career because I have a desire to help everyone in need of medical attention. After discussing my opinion with my fellow nursing classmates, I was taken aback to find many of them, answered “yes” to the same question. I couldn’t help but wonder what caused them to answer in such a way that would neglect the person most important in our careers; the patient.

The concerns and reasons behind my classmates’ beliefs made me think more about my answer. I had to ask myself, would there ever be a reason for me to deny care of one of my patients? No. I feel that I would not carry out my role as a nurse if I refused a patient care. I have learned that in every circumstance involved in nurse-patient care, it is important to avoid personal harm as much as possible. I have also learned that the most important part of nursing is putting the patient’s needs first. Health care professionals need to be there for advocacy and health promotion. Then I developed a question of my own, if each nurse denied care, who is left with the responsibility of the patient? If each of us has the right to decide whether or not to provide care, what would happen if we all denied it?

I am well aware of diagnoses and treatments that may not foster safe environments; however, based on my beliefs, I feel that it is unethical for me to ignore a patient’s health when it is at risk. I am an individual who prioritizes the health and care of others above my own. I believe that is why I am destined to be a nurse.

As a future nurse, I believe I will serve as a role model to my patients and their families by providing them with the best nursing skills, regardless of their negative effects on me. I have chosen to become a supportive, trusting, care giver eager to improve the lives of each of patient to come.

This I believe – it is my duty to provide care for each patient.

“My Duty to Provide Care,” Copyright © 2008 by Heather Harris. Part of the This I Believe Essay Collection found at, Copyright © 2005-2009, This I Believe, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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