Never Give or Take an Excuse

Florence attributed her success to never giving an excuse or taking an excuse. If you’ve ever been a student of mine you know that I abide by that same philosophy. In fact it would become quite humorous in the clinical area or in post conference when a student would try to explain their action, or lack of, by giving an excuse. The first thing out of my mouth would be, “is that an excuse”? After just a few such episodes the whole group keenly got the message and would stop in their tracks. No excuses were offered again. Facts and apologies were always accepted, but no excuses ever.

You might ask why? Why would you be so hard on a student? Is it really being hard to teach and expect accountability and professionalism? Nurses must be responsible and accountable for their patients’ health, wellbeing and lives! No excuses! Professionalism as an RN begins in nursing education. As nurses we cannot afford to give excuses. Granted, unintentional mistakes are made, though excuses on the other hand begin as a thought and result in words and actions. Inexcusable. Are we excused from malpractice? Are we excused from negligence? Never.  Blaming, excuses, passing the buck, whining it’s “not my fault” along with attitudes of entitlement have no place in nursing.

New healthcare financing reforms are designed to reward accountability and efficiency, and to bundle services and costs. Clinical research continues to demonstrate that RNs are looked upon to be accountable and efficient and are associated with decreased patient mortality when higher numbers of RNs are caring for patients (Nolan, M. 2016). No excuses.

“I attribute my success to this:—I never gave or took an excuse.” ― Florence Nightingale


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