Nursing's Pro-life Mission

Ron Panzer
August 30, 2014
Reproduced with Permission
Hospice Patients Alliance

There can be no other mission in nursing than that which promotes and nurtures life, as the very word "nursing" arises in the context of giving nourishment to one in need. As the mother lovingly gives of herself to her child, we who work in nursing give of our very selves to our patients.

Everything that is done within this field is grounded in the concept of promoting the life and healing or comfort of our patient. Our care plans address the unmet needs unique to each patient yet nevertheless are shared in common with all others -- as each of us are human beings in need. None of us would still live today if we had not often been nursed and assisted along our way through the course of our lives.

Nurses do all they can to meet these needs of their patients, or they fail to succeed in the task of nursing. Nurses may spend hours, day after day, with their patients, constantly monitoring, assessing, and interacting with their patients. They are not merely assistants to physicians, but provide a specialized service that only nurses provide.

We do not merely administer medications to our patients, nor do we solely assist at the physician's side, we bathe and dress our patients, bandage wounds, massage, provide therapeutic interventions and treatments, feed and assist them to sit, stand and walk and listen to their concerns. We provide direct care and act not only as nurse, but act as a human friend to our equal and fellow traveler in this world.

We are sensitive not only to their physical needs, but to their emotional, psychological, spiritual and other needs. We tenderly approach the patient wholistically, seeing them as a complete person, not labeling them as an illness that afflicts them, a surgery that was, or is to be, done. We are with them, as we are humanly meant to be.

Those who would impose death while wearing the badge of nurse violate everything nursing is about and act antithetical to its very mission. Such individuals may be licensed as nurses, but are never nurses in actuality. They are merely technicians of death, traitors to their patients and profession.

Nurses once universally wore white, a symbol not of the sterility of heart demonstrated by those who promote the culture of death, but of the purity of heart of those dedicated to love and serve God and man with great humility and professionalism. There was no question about this mission when Florence Nightingale raised professionalism within the entire healthcare industry to the highest level.

That the idea of lovingly serving our patients is no longer taught in many nursing schools is a glaring indication of how far astray we have wandered. That "professionalism" can ever include the medical killing or assisted-suicide of the patient we are meant to serve shows how many nurses who are now promoted as examples of the mainstream completely fail to understand our mission!

If nursing were not pro-life, why would we, why should we, pay attention to all the various signs that communicate to us the changes in our patient's clinical condition? Why would we pay attention to the lighting, temperature, ventilation, quality of nutrition and cleanliness of our patient's environment?

If nursing were not pro-life, why take the time to carefully administer medications? Why bother if we are ready to assist them to death?

Life is fragile and maintained only within certain narrow ranges of biological conditions -- very specific conditions that are uniquely required by our human anatomy and physiology. We act to promote those conditions that sustain life and are attentive to the slightest changes. Any one condition that goes unattended to may harm or even end our patient's life. We honor the life God has given us to serve by paying attention and promoting life!

Shall we choose to be mere technicians -- or nurses? Nurses provide a unique perspective on the care of the patient and that perspective must be acknowledged and embraced if healthcare is to remain a service provided for the benefit of the individual patient, rather than a service rendered at the expense of the patient for the supposed greater utilitarian good of a self-centered and callous society.

What a great privilege it is to wear that pin, to be a nurse and serve our patients with skill and integrity! What an honor it is to know that this day we have made that important difference in their lives! Patients or their families know good nursing care when they experience it, and we have a duty to demonstrate excellence in each task we do.

We may give thanks to God that we are able to serve in just this way, such a special and intimate way, recognizing our patients as human beings just as we ourselves are, serving them as we would wish to be served.

When we do everything right, sometimes through very demanding and tiring days, it seems that nobody may notice. At the end of decades of service, there will be no parade, and we may sometimes question what we are doing and why.

On the other hand, if we do even one thing wrong, everyone will notice and the patient will suffer, or worse. As in so many fields, there are those vital services that make all the difference.

Any trusted automotive mechanic could do everything right for years on end, but then fail just one time to make the brakes function safely, and he would likely be charged as having been criminally negigent. Any actions on our part that directly contribute to the harm of our patient, whether intended or not, are just as negligent!

After decades of service we don't get the gold watch or retirement package that brave policemen receive, but our reward is from above. We live a very special life, having been blessed with the opportunity to give.

Many of our patients and their families know the difference we have made. We have the inner satisfaction knowing that we have practiced sacrificial love as the dear Lord has taught us to do. We have run the race and given our all.

What we do matters. How we do it matters. And all of it, all of nursing, exists to promote and affirm the value of our patients' lives and is therefore "pro" life.

For more information, see:

The National Association of Pro Life Nurses

As a professional organization, NAPN... seeks to establish and protect ethical values of the nursing profession. It defends nursing and para-medical personnel from discrimination and/or job loss for refusal to participate in practices which violate these values. NAPN demonstrates concern for those facing difficult choices involving life-taking decisions by education and promotion of positive alternative choices.

It seeks to develop life-affirming attitudes in the nursing profession by promotion of these ethical values to those we interact with in the workplace. and involves the organization's members in the legislative process to promote life-affirming legislation. NAPN recognizes the value of and supports research beneficial to humanity when it is done with consideration for the dignity of the person involved and with their full and informed consent.

NAPN rejects research involving people unable or unwilling to give their full, informed consent; and research which involves experimentation with dangerous procedures or drugs which impair or endanger the health and well-being of the person or their offspring.

And see: