What Are The Core Values Of Nursing?

When you want to find a career that you can stick with for life and that offers you the chance to help other people – even heal them – then nursing could be the answer. Nursing allows you to make a real difference in people’s lives, and most people who choose to go down this path find it to be hugely satisfying and fulfilling.

There are some important core values that nursing carries with it, and if you know them and can work with them, you’ll find your career is even better than it would have been otherwise. You’ll find that you can truly get to the essence of what nursing really is, and you’ll be able to do so much more for your patients. Read on to find out more about what these crucial core values are.

Empathy And Caring

One of the most important core values in all of nursing is empathy and caring. Being compassionate and offering a high level of care because of this is crucial, and it’s what will make one nurse stand out from a crowd of others; they will be the one the patients feel is helping them the most.

A nurse must have the ability to understand what the patients are going through, even if they have never been in such a situation themselves. They need to know what to say and do to ensure the patient feels safe and secure, thus promoting faster healing. By tuning into what a patient really feels and needs, the nurse can do more for them.

It can be hard to truly put yourself in the shoes of any patient, but this is something that all good nurses must at least try to do because this is how the very best care will be offered.


If there is one thing a nurse needs to be good at over and above anything else, it’s communication. Imagine a nurse who couldn’t talk to their patients or explain to a colleague what a patient needs or understand what a doctor was asking in terms of patient care. It would be disastrous, and the patients themselves would get a poor level of care before it.

A nurse needs to use various forms of communication to be understood and understand what is required of them. Speech itself, body language, even written instructions all need to be part of how a nurse communicates and reads other people. When a nurse can adhere to this particular core value, the difference in how they can treat their patients is amazing and could be what ensures a swift recovery for some.


Surely nurses don’t need to teach anyone anything. Surely everyone working within the healthcare environment already knows exactly what to do and what everything means? This latter idea is, of course, true; the staff working with and around nurses should indeed have a good knowledge of medical matters and how their particular workplace functions. However, a lot of learning is also done on the job, meaning that nurse practitioners will need to teach RNs and other types of nurses what to do in some cases. In addition, anyone at a higher level will need to teach those who are still rising through the ranks. Unless this happens, there will be an uneven workforce, with some people having a basic knowledge of nursing and others knowing pretty much everything there is to know.

Nurses must also teach patients and their families about the conditions and illnesses they might have. This is especially true if there is home healthcare to undertake, as is the case with type II diabetes. Again, a good nurse who understands the core values of the nursing profession will be able to explain everything in the right level of detail and ensure that they have been understood.

Critical Thinking

Part of a nurse’s job is to make clinical decisions. This makes sense, but when you add in the fact that these are hugely important decisions and that sometimes they have to be made in mere seconds because the patient needs urgent help, you’ll begin to see why this core value is one that, unless you are prepared for it, you may struggle with.

Perhaps most of the time, there won’t be clear answers for everything that a patient is going through. The textbooks will certainly teach a lot, but it’s often a lot more complicated when it comes to real life, and this is where critical thinking must come in. As a nurse, you must be able to think on your feet and come to sensible, workable solutions to problems quickly and calmly. You need to have an organized mind that will allow you to think under pressure, and this is a massively important trait for nurses. It’s possible to learn this, and having a good amount of medical knowledge behind you will help, but if you are naturally gifted in this area, which will certainly help.

Ethical And Legal Considerations

Everything a nurse does when it comes to patient care and even the handling of relatives and friends of patients must be done ethically. It’s easy for a patient to feel they have been mistreated – or to actually be mistreated in some cases – and to sue the hospital or a specific staff member because of this. So nurses must be aware of all the ethical and legal ramifications of whatever it is they’re doing if they want to work without worrying that something will go wrong, and they will get the blame.

As well as being aware of what could go wrong and why it’s important to work to a strict set of guidelines, it’s also important that a nurse is generally able to understand why some things are ethically wrong. It’s crucial they can tell right from wrong, in other words. A nurse who cannot do this is potentially dangerous and certainly would have trouble with being empathetic, which, as we’ve mentioned above, is another core value of nursing.