Nursing is a profession where social justice is a core value. Every day nurses are exposed to different situations which present health disparities and social inequalities. This is the reason why nurses play an important role in promoting social justice.
Social justice is practiced by nurses when extending healthcare services. It is necessary that they are fair and nondiscriminatory when they perform their duties. The American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics with Interpretive Statements espoused the value of social justice. In Provision 1 alone, it is very clear that social justice is an essential foundation of the nursing profession. It stresses that nurses should be compassionate and should respect the individual differences of the people whom they serve. Nurses should be professional in their dealings with people, no matter what their status, race or health concerns are . It is part of their ethical responsibility to promote and support universal access to healthcare. Universal access to healthcare should include societal benefits such as prenatal care and access to culturally-competent healthcare providers.
The nursing profession has the potential to lead health practitioners in eliminating inequity in healthcare. Since nurses are the health providers who are in direct contact with both the privileged and the disadvantaged population, they have the capacity to advocate social justice principles in society’s healthcare programs. Nurses should struggle to eradicate oppression and discrimination in promoting health and well-being of individuals from all walks of life. They should promote a vision of equality when it comes to health concerns. Every person is entitled to the appropriate healthcare service and the nursing profession should take the necessary first step.
American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Publishing.
Grace, P. J. (2012). Nursing responsibilities and social justice: An analysis in support of disciplinary goals. Nursing Outlook, 198-207.