prejudicial and segregational behaviors. When this is
permitted to occur, an environment that feeds a
multitude of social illnesses and destructive behaviors
develops. In the Navy Medical Department, no
expressions or actions based on prejudicial attitudes
will be tolerated.
It is both the moral and legal responsibility of the
healthcare provider to render services with respect for
the life and human dignity of the individual without
regard to race, creed, gender, political views, or social
A large majority of people have some form of
belief system that guides many of their life decisions
and to which they turn to in times of distress. A
persons religious beliefs frequently help give
meaning to suffering and illness; those beliefs may
also be helpful in the acceptance of future incapacities
As a healthcare professional, you must accept in a
nonjudgmental way the religious or nonreligious
beliefs of others as valid for them, even if you
personally disagree with such beliefs. Although you
may offer religious support when asked and should
always provide chaplain referrals when requested or
indicated, it is not ethical for you to abuse your
patients by forcing your beliefs (or nonbeliefs) upon
them. You must respect their freedom of choice,
offering your support for whatever their needs or
desires may be.
In todays Navy, you will encounter many
situations where you are responsible for the care and
treatment of service members of the opposite sex.
When you treat service members of the opposite sex,
you must always conduct yourself in a professional
To ensure the professional conduct of a healthcare
provider is not called into question, the Navy Medical
Department provides specific guidelines in
BUMEDINST 6320.83, Provisions of Standbys
During Medical Examinations.
Some of these
guidelines are as follows:
A standby should be present when you are
examining or treating a member of the opposite
sex. Whether this standby is a member of the
same sex as the patient may be dictated by the
availability of personnel.
Common sense dictates that when you are caring
for a patient, sensitivity to both verbal and
nonverbal communication is paramount. A grin,
a frown, or an expression of surprise may all be
misinterpreted by the patient.
Explanations and reassurances will go far in
preventing misunderstandings of actions or
Knowledge, empathy, and mature judgment
should guide the care provided to any patient. This is
especially crucial when the care involves touching. As
a member of the healthcare team, you are responsible
for providing complete, quality care to those who need
and seek your service. This care must also be provided
in a manner compatible with your technical
The age of the patient must be considered in
performance of patient care. As a Hospital Corpsman,
you will be responsible for the care of infants, children,
adults, and the elderly. Communication techniques
and patient handling may need to be modified because
of the age of the patient.
Infants and Children
Infants can communicate their feelings in a variety of
positive and negative ways, and they exhibit their needs
by crying, kicking, or grabbing at the affected area of
pain. An infant, however, usually responds positively to
cuddling, rocking, touching, and soothing sounds.
Children need emotional support and display the
same feelings an adult would when ill: fear, anger,
worry, and so on. When ill, children may display
behavior typical for an earlier age. For example, when
hospitalized, a child who has been toilet trained may
soil himself. This is not unusual, and parents should be
informed that this behavior change is temporary.
While the child is under your care in the hospital, you
are a parent substitute and must gain the childs
confidence and trust. Offer explanations of what you
are going to do in ways the child will understand.
In taking care of the elderly patient, a healthcare
professional must be alert to the patients mental and