Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.  Proverbs 10:9

During this inaugural series I’m describing my personal and professional code, which, by using the beginning letters of each word, spell the acronym “HIGHER”. It is similar to the HBU slogan “A Higher Education” which is found on our website and in many other places.  I have always tried to practice these attributes and I discovered that these words fit nicely into our slogan.  HIGHER stands for Humility, Integrity, Glorify, Him, Encouragement, Respect.  Today’s entry is about Integrity.

As shown in the graphic, integrity has many traits or features. It is doing the right thing even when the right thing is inconvenient or hard or scary.  Sometimes it is hard to recognize the right thing versus something that is sort of right or not right at all.  That recognition of what is right is directed by the person’s own moral compass or code.  Integrity showcases the concept of authenticity, or being true to yourself.

I was recently in a situation where doing the right thing was indeed very inconvenient and a little scary.  The right thing included my taking a risk to help people I had never seen or known, and would most likely never see again.  I was far away from home, and it would have been much easier to tell myself and others that I was leaving soon and that I did not want to risk getting involved.  That would have been acceptable, and everyone would have understood.  Most would have done that very thing without giving the situation another thought.  It would have been okay to do, but it would not have been the right thing to do.

I did the right thing, meaning I got involved.  It was inconvenient and hard and scary.  But without question it was the right thing to do.  As a result, I felt “legit”.  I was true to myself, to people I would never see again, and most important, to God. In that situation I saw what I was made of.  I saw myself for who I am, and I was relieved to know that my true self will strive to do the right thing, even when it is hard.

Integrity involves ethics.  Healthcare professionals, no matter what their role, are expected to be ethical.  There are codes of ethics or standards of expected behaviors for nurses and other professionals. Some people need the written code to help them know what to do, but many know what to do in most situations because they can recognize the right thing, even when it is hard and complicated. Sometimes external factors make doing what I or others would consider to be the right thing difficult or even impossible, but those can be discussed in a future series.  Important to note is that not everyone considers “the right thing” to be the same thing as everyone else.

Integrity is practiced in someone’s personal life as well as professional.  If integrity relies on authenticity then it should not vanish because the roles or settings change.  I want to practice integrity as a college Dean, a nursing professional, a family member, a CrossFit athlete, a global citizen, and a child of God.  Lack of integrity in any of those roles can spread like a virus to the others, and lead to my spiritual dysfunction.  I will talk about that “virus” in another post.

The next post briefly discusses glorifying God.  I hope you enjoy it.