Considering the fact that nursing is a profession that allows a nurse to contribute to the physical and emotional well-being of a large number of people, it is the duty of an individual nurse to initiate strategies that can ensure better outcomes for individuals, societies and communities at large. Advocacy is to be understood as an act of standing up and speaking out for a moral good, voicing concerns of disadvantaged people, while at the same time, collaborating with individuals or groups who are in dire need of support in exerting their rights and preferences. A healthcare issue that merits immediate attention is the problem of the victims of the Syrian War, who being a part of a country that is every now and then experiencing a protracted socio-political crisis are witnessing a deterioration of the living condition. Any effort to realize shared responsibility of contributing to the common good is impeded as despite the death, pain, trauma and violence inflicted on the Syrian refugees, any healthcare worker working for their welfare are being killed on the spot. More than 2.3 Syrian people have been displaced from their homes, maternal and child care service has been deplorable and is continually interrupted owing to the terrorist attacks, and food insecurity and deterioration of sanitation service have made it impossible for the Syrian victims to sustain in such a situation (Grossman & Valiga, 2016). It is the responsibility of the nurses to improve the quality of living and health status as far as the Syrians are concerned so that all the refugees in Syria, regardless of the cast, creed, religion or sex, are able to gain equitable access to the basic healthcare facilities. However, most of the healthcare workers are unwilling to go to Syria and serve them simply because each new day, health staffs are getting killed and injured while on-duty. Although some of these refugees are being given shelters in Australia, they are unable to get equal access to healthcare facility, being outside their own home country (Grace, 2017).
Before proposing a solution to the problem, a clear definition of the idea of common good is needed. The common good can be achieved only when all the individuals of the global community are being treated in an equal, just and fair manner. While serving the victims of Syria, the care, love and protection that a professional nurse should offer must necessarily extend beyond individual need (Chomsky, 2014). Nursing is regarded as a discrete profession that essentially reflects societal recognition that the constellation of services provided by nurses is supportive of the common good, and thus the nurses should ensure the overall well-being of each one of the Syrian refugees while serving the Syrian community. Human dignity is a fundamental right and an important moral obligation, and thus the nurses taking care of the Syrian refugees in Australia and abroad, must promote a culturally congruent healthcare set up. While approximately 10,000 Syrian immigrants have come to Australia, many professional nurses are inclined to favour the persecuted Christian Syrian refugees over the Muslims. However, favouring and prioritizing the healthcare needs of the refugees, on the basis of the religious affiliation goes straight against the principle of common good. Hence, the nurses will require formal education and clinical training so that they can practice and deliver culturally competent nursing care (Lal &Spence, 2016). As far as Syria is concerned, it should be noted that the number of Muslims killed or injured in the Syrian War outnumbers the number of people belonging to any other religion being killed. Hence, if the nurses wish to integrate the common good into their profession, they have to offer high quality healthcare facilities to as many Syrian victims as possible. The nurses should be trained in a way so as to enhance their cultural sensitivity, develop their cross-cultural knowledge so that they can serve culturally diverse individuals and families of Syria (Giger, 2016). The nurses serving the Syrian refugees in Australia should not only undergo cross-cultural training courses, workshops and seminars, but also consult with the Syrian healthcare communities to understand the specific needs and preferences of the people belonging to the Syrian Muslim families. In order to eliminate the problem of health disparity and to ensure the accomplishment of common good, organizing professional nursing workshops for the nurses can lead to more open attitudes, greater awareness, more effective advocacy as well as a preparedness to engage with the Syrian refugees. Each of the Syrian refugees has been exposed to the loss of near ones, injury, trauma and excruciating pain and hence each of them needs to be treated with human dignity (Jacobs, 2016). Community engagement is an important concept in this context. The profession of a nurse is not merely confined to the act of providing healthcare to an individual affected in the war, but to adopt a proactive strategy so as to bring about a change in the improvement in the health status of all the Syrian refugees. In order to engage with each Syrian member, a nurse will require consulting with the Syrian healthcare communities so as to understand the nature of healthcare service provided. At the same time, a nurse will need to visit the shelter homes of the refugees and even if they do not have any injury, they must be counselled so as to help them get rid of the trauma and pain of experiencing terrorist attacks. The common good can never be realized if the Syrian refugees are being discriminated in Australia and they are not being provided with basic healthcare facilities as well as human care and compassion. While discussing about nursing advocacy, it should be noted that common good is difficult to accomplish in case of a country offering healthcare assistance to the people of a separate country (Gastmans, 2013). The impulse of the professional nurses to care about others, is found in every human society but the nurses may often be inclined chiefly towards “in-groups,” with which she identifies and feels a sense of community; the Christian refugees of Syria or even all the Syrian victims may be regarded as the “out-group,” towards which indifference may be directed. With the help of medical diplomacy, the conflict or hostility amongst the nurse and patients belonging to different cultural group must be eliminated. As an integral part of the concept of community engagement, it is important to ensure that a nurse is not working alone, but in solidarity with other healthcare experts such as physicians, charity workers, community development workers and dentists to offer a comprehensive solution to the physical and emotional health problems inflicting the refugees (Cheraghi et al., 2014). The physical, social as well as the emotional needs of each refugee will have to be addressed, regardless of any form of difference, and coordinated and collaborative healthcare approach has to be adopted for the same. Those arriving new to Australia may have difficulty in understanding complex service pathways and appointment systems as prevalent in Australia, and to make things easier, the professional nurses will have to choose days as per convenience pay them visits and communicate to the patients about the healthcare systems of Australia.
Cheraghi, M. A., Manookian, A., & Nasrabadi, A. N. (2014). Human dignity in religion-embedded cross-cultural nursing. Nursing ethics, 21(8), 916-928.
Chomsky, N. (2014). What is the common good? Truthout.
Gastmans, C. (2013). Dignity-enhancing nursing care: a foundational ethical framework. Nursing ethics, 20(2), 142-149.
Giger, J. N. (2016). Transcultural Nursing-E-Book: Assessment and Intervention. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Grace, P. J. (2017). Nursing ethics and professional responsibility in advanced practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Grossman, S., & Valiga, T. M. (2016). The new leadership challenge: Creating the future of nursing. FA Davis.
Jacobs, B. B. (2016). Respect for human dignity in nursing: Philosophical and practical perspectives. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research Archive, 32(2).
Lal, S., & Spence, D. (2016). Humanitarian nursing in developing countries: a phenomenological analysis. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 27(1), 18-24.