5 Guiding Principles of Nursing: Remembering Why We’re Here

By Nancy Simon, CNO, Methodist Health System

Most nurses enter the profession to fulfill a calling to help others, not to get bogged down by new rules, regulations, and health care reform. The fact is, some of those issues are here to stay, but at Methodist Health System, we’re committed to helping nurses navigate the changes while staying true to their personal mission of caring for patients and their families.

In light of all that’s going on in today’s hospitals, it’s important to remember five guiding principles in quality nursing care:

1. Love your patients like they are family. In nursing school, many of us were taught to keep a professional distance from our

patients. But today, we know patients want someone who is there when they need them -- someone who will drop everything to help them during the most traumatic and scariest moments of their lives. If nurses don’t allow themselves to get close to patients and their families, they will never experience the true joy of nursing. Nurses become better nurses if they allow themselves to get closer to patients and families.

2. Be a great team player: Assist others so all patients receive great care. In nursing, as well as other health professions, it’s about being part of a team. “That’s not my patient” no longer belongs in our vocabulary. It’s up to each nurse and staff member to see who else needs them. If we don’t do that, patients will suffer. Teamwork separates good hospitals from great hospitals, and one poor player can bring the whole team down.

3. Communicate closely with your patients’ physicians. Doctors drive the decisions, and they are the ones patients and families choose. Nurses must communicate closely with their patients’ physicians so that patients receive good care.

4. Earn the respect of physicians and your nursing colleagues by staying updated on nursing practice. Nurses who stay on top of their practice and continue to seek new skills and knowledge are the ones physicians and other colleagues trust. Earning trust leads to better experiences with physicians and co-workers, which ultimately enhances patient care.

5. Dress professionally so patients trust you immediately. Trust is everything. Research shows that in seven seconds, patients decide if they trust you or not. The first interaction needs to be very positive – both verbally and non-verbally (clothing, appearance, etc.) -- or it will be harder to regain trust. Make those first impressions count.

Being a nurse at Methodist means we work hard together, we have fun while fulfilling our mission, and we are committed to improving and saving lives.

Methodist Health System. It’s a place where you can fulfill your calling. To be part of the Methodist Health System team, where nurses remember why they

went into nursing, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.


Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or any of its affiliated hospitals.

© Methodist Health System

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