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Coat of Arms: Importance of Knowledge and Empathy Essay

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Updated: May 11th, 2022

In nursing profession, Coat of Arms graphically represents the attributes of service that nurses should encompass in providing health care to patients (Hander, 2012). As such, the Coat of Arms is a symbolic representation of the professional ethics and morals that guides a nurse in provision of health care. The selected Coat of Arms has four symbols: the lips, a book, a high heeled shoe and a tie. Each of these symbols represents a value which is critical for professional conduct in nursing.

Description of the selected Coat Arms

The high heel shoe is a symbol of empathy which is a basic attitude for professionalism in nursing. It underlines the importance of demonstrating compassion when dealing with patients. Understanding their suffering and working towards promoting their wellbeing. This requires genuine will power to assist, even when the patient may not be cooperating or appreciating the assist been rendered due to factors such as physical pain or emotional anguish which associated with ailing individuals.

The book in the Coat of Arms symbolizes the knowledge upon which the nursing profession and practice is based on. Practicing nurses must always adhere to best practices which are based on scientific knowledge. In addition, the art of nursing requires creative tailoring of health care solutions to fit in with the needs of the individual patient. This creativity seeks to improve the health care service delivery within the existing scientific knowledge on human medicine. Therefore, a book as a symbol of knowledge is an important aspect of nursing profession, to affirm the commitment of the nurses to provide up to date health care services.

The lip represents advocacy for better health wellbeing of the individual and the society at large. It is the duty of the nursing professional to advocate for healthy fitness behaviours and attitudes. In addition, the nursing professional has a moral obligation to advocate for the provision quality health care services to deserving individuals. This includes the advocacy for inclusive health care system as well as ensuring that vulnerable members of the society are given the necessary priority and attention in terms of health care services accessibility.

Lastly, the tie is a symbol of commitment to professional code of conduct. Nursing involves sensitive issues regarding provision of medicine and handling of confidential information about the patients health status. Therefore, nurses must be committed that their conduct will be guided by the professional ethics and code of conduct, otherwise, this may erode the confidence that patient have with the health care service providers, consequently, negatively affecting the healing process.

Importance of Knowledge in nursing profession

One of the fundamental aspects of effective nursing practice is professional knowledge. This knowledge enables a practicing nurse to accurately access health care problems and deliver effective care to promote healing. Intellectual skills are critical enablers to nursing professional in assessing and planning appropriate nursing care through the involvement of patients, and where necessary their immediate carers (Cholowski and Chan, 2010). In addition, professional knowledge enhances the contribution of the nurse in the process of implementing nursing care programs, which are often structured and monitored by other registered medical practitioners. This is because professional knowledge is gained by learning the fundamentals of delivering effective and safe nursing care. Furthermore, the awareness of effective strategies of collecting and assessing the client’s data through use of appropriate tools is imparted through learning process. There are various sources of nursing such as scientific research, nursing experiences and individual experiences. However, all these sources are documented in order to eliminate ambiguous practice and provide valid evidence upon which future practices can be based upon. Therefore, the book symbol in the Coat Arms signifies the importance of gaining knowledge in order to deliver quality nursing care.

Importance of empathy quality in nursing

Empathy is one of the most important qualities in nursing profession. In fact, it is one of the foundation of nursing professional ethics and code of conduct. The understanding of the other people’s health care needs and aspirations, and the subsequent delivery of care in a kind and generous manner, is only possible of the nurse have empathy. Empathy is a core value that allows individuals to practice other virtues, when interacting with other individuals. This explains why empathy has been given a lot of attention in the nursing literature. There are some scholars who question whether empathy is necessary for effective nursing practice. Furthermore, it is difficult to define the specific type of empathy that enhances the complex relationship between the nurses and the patients. More importantly, empathy promotes the indirect relationship between the care giver and the client. According to Michie (2002), life can be less stressful for individuals in both social as well as professional situation by practice sympathy while interacting with people around them. Given that the nursing work involves complex interactions with the administrators, doctors, patient relative and the patients themselves, empathy is an important quality for facilitating excellent interactions. It allows the nurse to serve people without prejudice. Therefore, high heel shoe as a symbol of nursing representing empathy was selected to signify the importance of this quality in professional practice.

Importance of integrity in nursing practice

The heart is a symbol of love most often associated with feelings and caring. Caring is the foundation on which the healing relationship of the nurse-patient is built. Moral integrity represents a person’s wholeness of character. People with moral integrity pursue a moral purpose in life, understanding their moral duties in the community, and are committed to following through without any limitations forced on them by their moral position. Laabs (2011) undertook a qualitative study on moral integrity where nurses perceived the definition of moral integrity as, “[A] state of being, acting like, and becoming a certain kind of person. This person is trustworthy, honest, consistently doing the right thing and standing up for what is right despite the consequences” (p.433).

Nurses with moral integrity have a strong sense of themselves and work in ways consistent with their understanding of what is right. Good character, intent, and performance are some of the features of moral integrity. Nurses with moral integrity act consistently with personal and professional values. When nurses are asked or pressured to do something that conflicts with their values, such as to falsify records, deceive patients, or accept verbal abuse from others, moral distress may occur. Threats to moral integrity can be a serious pitfall for nurses especially because of politics, self-serving groups or interest, and organizational bureaucracy that characterize most healthcare systems. Although nurses with moral integrity may make compromises, the compromises do not interfere with their professional or personal values. A nurse with moral integrity is therefore a person with a character made up of honesty, truthfulness, and moral courage.

Personal reflection

After discussing with my group members the role of advocacy in nursing, it was apparent that it is of greater value than initial assumed. I learnt that professional nurses must be always ready to actively participate in engaging health care institutions and other health care stakeholders to provide the necessary support and resources for the delivery of quality health care services. In addition, the professional nurse must always champion for the right of their clients or patients to get desirable health care assistance. It implies that the nurses should not fail to report or whistle blow when the rights of the patients are violated. The discussion will inform my role as an advocate of professional practice in the delivery of nursing care.


Cholowski, K. & Chan, L. (2010). Prior Knowledge in Student and Experienced Nurses’ Clinical Problem Solving. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 1, 10-21. Web.

Hander, A. (2013). Nursing Portfolio. Web.

Laabs, C. (2011). Perceptions of Moral Integrity: Contradictions in need of explanation. Nursing Ethics, 18 (3), 431-440.

Michie, S. (2002). Education: Causes and Management of Stress at Work. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59 (1), 67-72.

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