What Can Nurse Practitioners Learn from Martin Luther King Jr.?

I have to admit. I wasn’t quite sure how to relate Martin Luther King Jr. day to the nurse practitioner profession. I explored the obvious connection, minorities in nursing, but the statistics I uncovered weren’t particularly compelling and I was bored by the potential content of my post. Then, I uncovered a few quotes from the famous Martin Luther King Jr. which are some of the most thought provoking I have read.  

After reading a page or two filled with Martin Luther King Jr’s most famous words, I an even deeper impression of the man. He was wise, persistent and faithful. He was filled with hope but believed true change came only as a result of hard work. He exemplifies many of the qualities I believe Americans have begun to forget.  

I’m not an overly sentimental person but reading MLK’s words really made me think. Today, I want to share with you this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.; “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education”. As nurse practitioners and NP students we can relate to these words.  Our education has the unique quality of ultimately impacting the lives of others- our patients.  

Once our nurse practitioner programs are complete, it is tempting to use our medical education without character, to simply collect a paycheck every-other-week and approach our careers as just a ‘job’. But, as medical providers we are morally obligated to do much more. We must implement character into our practices. Patients come to us at vulnerable times in their lives. They present seeking advice both medical and personal. As NP’s of education in addition to character we should promote health of the individual. We must treat the physical body as well as the personal and emotional aspects of life- even though these aspects are the most time consuming and often uncompensated. 

I encourage you to read some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words this week. You will be impressed by what you find. Use them as a reminder to add character while using your medical education this week. Consider the person behind the diagnosis you are making and you can spread hope and inspiration to your community.


You Might Also Like: Should We Label Our Patients as Non-Compliant?