As I wrote last week, the American public trusts nurses more than any other profession in the country. According to the annual Gallup poll, 85% of Americans rated nurses' honesty and ethical standards as "very high" or "high," the highest rating for RNs since nurses were first included in the poll in 1999.
In last week's column, I asked why nurses are so trusted and came up with a number of explanations, from their compassion to their dedication to their medical expertise. But perhaps it's also because ethical infractions, even small ones, are not tolerated within the nursing community. The bar is unusually high for nurses because the stakes are so high in nursing.
Therefore, it's perfectly reasonable to wonder whether someone who steals something small one day might eventually steal something big, like medicine or money, another day. It's reasonable to question whether a person who lies about something small might eventually lie about something big, like a medical error.
"My clinical skills are exceptional. I have never once made an error," Stickney told the Concord Monitor.
But in the world of nursing, where trust is paramount, honesty matters just as much as clinical skills.
Stickney is appealing her suspension.