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diversity right and equality

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The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate the understanding of the terms Diversity Rights and Equality and how it can be applied to nursing care in British society. This article will ouline why Nurses should have an awareness of patients right ,how Nurses need to be aware of diversity to enhance patient care ,how equality is maintained in nursing care and how nurses can acknoledge rights and equality when meeting the needs of diverse groups.

Diversity is each of us and all of us, individually and collectively. Diversity is everything that makes each of us different and those things about all of us that are similar. Diversity is what we can see and what we cannot see in each of us and all of us,at anytime, anywhere. The University of Kansas medical centre (2007).

The Department of Health (2004) states valuing diversity within the NHS and determines the importance that health professionals recognize, respect and value difference for the benefit of the organization and its patients. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002) incorporates the idea of non-judgmental care into its code of professional conduct by maintaining clause 7 of the UKCC Guidelines for Professional Practice (1996, pp25) who instructed “as a registered nurse, midwife or health visitor you are personally accountable for your practice. In the exercise of your professional accountability you must recognize and respect the uniqueness and dignity of each patient and respond to their need of care. Professionals are personally accountable for their actions and omissions, regardless of advice or directions from other professionals.

The only way to ensure that a nurse puts the patient first is by giving patients their rights. British medical association (2002) addresses that Minors have rights under the Human Rights Act just like every one else but, as for everyone else, their rights will have to be interpreted in relation to the rights of other people. This is to say that young patients have often been given an opportunity to consent to whatever medical treatment is offered to them but not to refuse it when it is recommended. Decision about whether to accept or reject medical treatment should ideally be taken by children together with their parents, although competent young people do have the option of seeking and obtaining medical treatment independently. The rights of children and their parents to refuse treatment are limited. Parents are not entitled to refuse treatment that, in the view of the court, it is the child’s best interest to have similarly, a competent young person’s refusal might be overridden in certain circumstances. Without consent, or even against the wishes of the child or parents, emergency treatment may be provided if any delay would lead to death or serious harm. Health professional should consult their lawyers as soon as practicable.

Nurses should support people from different backgrounds, treating them fairly and protecting them from discrimination. Indeed Walsh 1998 goes as far as suggesting that without comprehensive assessment, nursing care is routinised and impersonal. In order to be comprehensive the assessment should be both systematic and continues. It is important for nurses to develop a culture where patient’s privacy and dignity are respected. Measures need to be taken to promote patient dignity on the wards by redesigning hospital gowns, providing a warning system to indicate when a patient is undergoing intimate care, and to involve patients in all aspect of decision making about their care. (Nursing standard January page 5)

Good practice is based on good communication and the establishment of trust between the patient and the health team. Every one has rights even children have rights. It is essential that children and young people are shown that their views are valued and where appropriate, that those values will be treated confidentially, on the same terms as dialogue with other patients.

All patients regardless of their age, status or mental health capacity are to expect that information about themselves provided or discovered in the courses of their health care will not be revealed to others without their consent. Regarding the general duty of confidentiality owed to all patients, the general medical council (GMC) states:

Patients have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence by their doctors. Confidentiality is central trust between doctors and patients. Without assurances about confidentiality, patients may be reluctant to give doctors the information they need in order to provide good care.

A fundamental value of the NHS is equity of access to its services. Everybody, irrespective of their gender, age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion or sexuality should have equal access to services, and services should as far as possible, be sensitive to their individual needs. The Health Service is committed to ensuring that its workforce is able to respond fully to the needs of

all its patients. Staff working across the NHS therefore needs to reflect the diverse communities they serve, as this can contribute significantly to ensuring equitable access to, and appropriate and sensitive services.

Elderly people are suffering inequalities, prejudice and discrimination in health care provisions because there are putting pressures on NHS resources due to the complex of mixture of health problems they suffer from. Despite some improvement in the lives of older people many are disadvantaged. Levels of physical impairment are at their highest among older people (hunt 1978). Age concern discovered about 20% of coronary care units operates an age related admissions policy and on average 1000 elderly people die each year because doctors say their age makes it unlikely that they can cope with surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. (Working for equality in health care edited by Paul Bywaters and Eileen McLeod)

With death mainly occurring in elderly patient, nursing staff need to be prepared to identify and support the religious and cultural needs of the patient. Dying patient in their final days can be upsetting; however, ensuring that the older person receives high quality care is very rewarding. Spirituality may be an important aspect of a person’s life or it may be considered unimportant. People have different traditions that should be respected and observed as death approaches. These Traditions can influence the place where the death takes place.  People of the Muslim faith   who are dying will wish to face Mecca .The bed should be moved facing East towards Mecca .The imam (priest) may come and recite prayers with the family. If families are not available any practicing Muslim can help. Post –mortem examination is not allowed, nor the use of organs for transplant. Female Muslims must not be touched after death by male nurses, and vise versa. Nursing Residential Care, (2006)

 A major purpose of reporting these is to ensure that the person needs are meet, during and beyond death. The only way to find out what is wanted from Nurses is to ask the patient or family and not make assumptions. Indeed Hector and Whitefield (1982) goes as far as suggesting that the last few hours of someone’s life can be a memorable experience for his relatives, other patients and the care giver. It is the nurse’s responsibility to make the memory as painless as possible by the care and support they give to the dying patient and to those around him. For the dying patient the nurse have to ensure that their comfort physically, emotionally and spiritually, and to make the end of their patient life peaceful and dignified.

Equality is not a matter that concerns only a minority of us, it should and does concern all of us equality is a fundamental human right. Inequality has the potential to prevent a person participating fully in society as a result, for example, of their gender, religion or sexuality. Unjust treatment can make a person isolated, scared and misunderstood.

Nurses need to reflect the diverse communities they serve, as this can contribute significantly to ensuring equitable access to, and appropriate and sensitive services. For the nurse to be culturally competent they need to be self awareness as a cultural being because culture is the fundamental to the relisation of holistic and individualsed care. Culture as a concept need to be studied formaly understood ,and applied.The role of nurses is to ensure that the health and social needs of diverse group are met. For Nurses to promote equality through practise as Comments of the Equality act ( 2006) insist that health providers should work together with patients in hospital .They should treat them fairly in respect to diversity and cultural diffrences. The most valunerable people in society who are often the least represented ,i.e. the disable. Nurses should ensure that the policies and procedure they currently operate should be compatible with the act.British journal of Nursing (2006).

Nurses need to learn from each other to develop their understanding of Diversity, rights and equality. Diversity, rights and equality are all linked together. Without equality Nurses would be taking ones rights away from them. Fairness and respect are privileges that everyone should enjoy, whoever and where ever they are .As health care professionals it is vital for nurses to be aware of diversity, rights and equality so they can provide good personal care.


British Medical Association (2001) Consent, Rights and choices in Health care for Children and young people. London: BMJ Book

Campinha-Bacote, J., (January 31, 2003)."Many Faces: Addressing Diversity in Health Care" Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, Vol 8 (1) Manuscript 2. Available: http://nursingworld.org/ojin/topic20/tpc20_2.htm

Department of Health (Sep 2005) Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Car e (online) Available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/AdvancedSearch/SearchResults/fs/en?NP=1&PO1=C&PI1=W&PF1=A&PG=1&RP=20&PT1=delivering+race+equality+in+mental+healthcare&SC=__dh_site&Z=1

Department of Health (2004) Equality and Diversity in the Medical Workforce (Online) Available at:  http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/08/38/83/04083883.pdf(Accessed on 08 January 2007)

Grieves, C. and Stein, P. J. and Stevenson, C. (2004).Patient and Person: Empowering interpersonal relationships in nursing .London: Elsevier Ltd

Grace, P. & McLaughlin, M. (2005) .when consent isn’t informed enough: Ethical issues,  

 Vol 105, (4) pp 81

 Howard, H. (2004). The Principles of Care: How to Value Difference Nursing andResidential Care, 6, 5, p212-215.

 Milligan, F. and Robinson, K. (2003).Limiting harm in healthcare: A nursingperspective .London: Blackwell publishing

 Nursing And Midwifery Council. (2004). Code of Professional Conduct: Standards for conduct, performance and ethics.  London: (Online) Available at: http://www.NMC-UK.Org/aDisplayDocument.aspx?DocumentID=201

Peate, I. (2006) .Comments on the Equality act .British Journal of Nursing, Vol 154 (24)    pp 1150-115 1(online) Available at:http://www.internurse.com/cgi-bin/go.pl/library/contents.html?uid=1639;journal_uid=9


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