A Moral Compass with a Bite

A Moral Compass with a Bite

Whether out in the wilderness or driving your car, we all use some sort of compass to navigate our physical direction. What then guides our moral direction? How do we steer ourselves through ethical situations and know the difference between right and wrong?

We each have a moral compass built into our subconscious, which guides us through difficult ethical situations based on our personal beliefs and values. This short YouTube video gives a great introduction into why people need a moral compass for leadership, but I find that it applies to everyone.

Challenged to explore my own moral compass through a nursing assignment as part of my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Entry Into Nursing program, I thought about my typical reactions when faced with a situation presenting risks. What calls me to act with integrity? As I enter the nursing profession, what values will be my foundation and how will I enact them?

When thinking about what helps me to make the right decision, I realized my moral compass is comprised of individual components that come together, a bit like a recipe. Therefore, I decided to make it!

Paige’s Black Bean Salsa Moral Recipe


Black beans

Values: Honesty and trust
Moral Compass: Peel back that “shell” and be honest with not only myself, but others as well. It is equally important that others are honest with me.


Values: Optimism and positivity
Moral Compass: Life is full of “maizes.” Stay hopeful, confident, and grounded, while always looking at my future and long-term goals.


Values: Respect and openness
Moral Compass: “I say tomato, you say tomahto.” Keep an open mind because you never know someone else’s life story and the battles they may be fighting.


Values: Compassion and kindness
Moral Compass: Allow my patients/people in my life to express vulnerability and “cry.” Genuinely care and express empathy.


Values: Responsibility and duty
Moral Compass: “Go green!” Take ownership of my actions and decisions. Be accountable and responsible in all aspects of my life.

“Secret” Spices

Values: Diversity and uniqueness
Moral Compass: Always respect different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and genders. Appreciate the differences and become better educated. As the Spice Girls once sang, “Colors of the world, spice up your life! Every boy and every girl, spice up your life! People of the world, spice up your life!”

Lime Juice

Values: Relationships
Moral Compass: My family, friends, and pets all help hold my values together. Life would be “sour” without them.


Values: My Moral Compass
Moral Compass: Encompass my individual core values and beliefs into one.

For the full recipe, see below (Sorry, mom!)

All my core values presented in my moral recipe will help me to become, and always remain, a better nurse. No matter what life throws my way, not only in nursing but also day to day, I must refer to my moral compass for guidance to make the right decisions. Remembering these core values will allow me to better approach my patients and their loved ones holistically, and create more trusting, open, mutually beneficial relationships.

Representation of your moral compass can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a recipe, but if you’re looking for an excuse for an awesome snack, I highly recommend it. Take some time to sit down and think about what core values keep you grounded and guide your moral compass when confronted with uncertainty.

Your moral compass stands for who you are. Never lose sight of that direction.

Acknowledgement: With special thanks and love to Tracy Martin for being my inspiration for this moral morsel, and Dr. Rebecca Wright for encouraging me to write this post and teaching me to become a better writer, student, and future nurse.

Black Bean Salsa Recipe:

1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ can Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilis), drained well

½ can shoe peg (white) corn

½ c. chopped red onion

¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro

1 ½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. salt

5 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

5 Tbsp. olive oil

-Mix together and let sit overnight or until flavors blend.


Paige Martin, BA, graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder in December 2015 with a degree in Integrative Physiology. After multiple jobs in health care, she discovered her passion for nursing. She is currently pursuing her MSN (Entry Into Nursing) degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and will graduate in August 2019.

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