The Ethic of Belonging in Nursing
The first featured article in the new issue of ANS (volume 42:4) is titled “Analyzing Patients’ Complaints: Awakening of the Ethic of Belonging” authored by Yan Ming, BSN, RN; Holly Wei, PhD, RN; Hong Cheng, BSN, RN; Jie Ming, BSN, RN and Mark Beck, DNP, RN. This article is one of our ANS Continuing Education offerings and is available for download at no cost while it is featured! In this article, the authors analyzed patients’ complaints through the lens of human relations and nursing ethics. Here is a message from Dr. Wei regarding their work:
The ethic of belonging, according to Emmanuel Levinas, is the first principle of science and is a priori of the ontology of separateness of being. We all belong to the universal field of love before we are separate beings, in which wholeness and connection come before separation and division. The universal love and transpersonal caring relationship are the essences of how one treats “the other.” “The other,” according to Levinas, is someone else other than oneself. The ethic of belonging is the interconnectedness with the infinite universe and the consciousness of the spirit and energy source. Based on this worldview, the ontology of caring relations and awareness of belonging become part of the ethical foundation of the discipline of nursing.
Healthcare is undergoing transformation globally. As in the United States, healthcare in China also faces healthcare reform. China embraces two significant challenges in healthcare: one is the volume-based payment system, and another one is the medical model of the nursing education curriculum. The payment system in China is still primarily a fee-for-service payment system, a system that is based on quantity, not quality, and a system that has been phased out in the United States. The nursing education program in China, from its beginning, has adopted a bio-medical model, a direct reproduction of the medical education curriculum.
The field of medicine, including nursing, has traditionally been considered as “hard science,” where the training of nurses focuses more on the tangible medical knowledge and skills and less on the “soft” and intangible humanistic caring. However, as economies grow, people’s expectations for a high quality of care increase. Patients expect a high quality of care in both clinical skills and humanity, which has created discrepancies between the quality of care expected and the quantity-based and illness-centered services offered. The gaps are directly associated with increased patients’ complaints, legal disputes, and violence.
This article has investigated patients’ complaints from a nursing ethics perspective. The notions introduced in this paper, such as “the other,” human-centered holistic caring, and nurse-patient relationships, are important concepts in nursing ethics and practice.