Annually in the United States, the Gallup organization polls the public about the most trusted profession and since 2002, nurses have achieved the top rank. The study evaluated honesty and ethical standards, and it is not a surprise that nurses lead in this area. Caring is a quality strongly associated with nurses, and this supports the perception that nurses are honest and ethical. The public trusts nurses to provide care 24/7 in their most critical time of need because people know nurses care. From an early age, children are taught that the nurse will take good care of them. For young families, nurses provide care that transcends being present during labor and delivery and empowers young families with care and education to support a growing family. In times of crisis, to managing chronic disease, and at the end of life, nurses provide care that may look like education, support, presence, and assistance. The core of these elements is care. Nursing is a caring profession, and it is important to hold tight to the historical, caring roots of nursing.
In today’s healthcare environment, it is easy to focus on the impact nurses provide in leading, changing, and innovating healthcare. These are important elements in healthcare, and often, this is what garners praise from the public and other healthcare team members. Nurses have transformed healthcare and improved health outcomes dramatically through our ability to create solutions and use the evidence to solve problems, but nurses must not forget our essence of caring. Nurses are the caregivers and we do care for our patients and populations across the globe.
Nurses must hold tight to the idea that nurses provide care. Nurses do so much more than the public and other healthcare team members know, and it is important to educate all stakeholders about the value nurses add to the healthcare environment through leading, changing, and innovating. However, without the core of caring, nurses lose their true identify and strength. Caring is noble, and it does instill trust and honesty. Nurses are caring, and this essential value must be embraced.