Professionalism is a dynamic combination of several aspects of nursing. I think that the cores of nursing professionalism is caring and serving. This article examines the concept of professionalism in nursing along with my personal decision to enter this field. I got into the nursing profession because I wanted to help people and be able to advocate for their needs. Through my experience, I realize that nursing is a profession, not just a job.
The article by LaSala and Nelson supports that nursing professionalism encompasses more than just professional appearance and should be considered in a variety of different settings, including the job interview and professional presentations. The article examines Susan Fetzer’s article on professionalism in associate degree nurses and how that professionalism is acquired. Finally, the article looks back in time and explores Florence Nightingale’s theory of environmental nursing and how it has affected the nursing profession. Nursing Professionalism
Nursing professionalism is a hard term to define. I believe that nurse professionalism describes the skills, attitudes, values and behaviors common to and expected from practicing nurses. Because there are so many aspects to professionalism, it can be difficult for any nurse, whether novice or expert, to constantly achieve professionalism. I think the most important aspects of professionalism are caring and serving. Although this may not seem like “professional” attributes, I believe that the concepts of caring and serving define our field.
There is nothing more un-professional or distasteful than a nurse that obviously does not care or serve for his or her patient, but rather, just does the bare minimum. I also believe that nurses need to understand that there is a healthy balance that needs to be present when talking with the patients. Nurses are in a perfect position to listen to the patients’ needs and concerns, but many times, nurses get too personal and the nurses’ personal life overshadows the concerns of the patient. Listening to the clients’ concerns lead to valuable insight, that later may be helpful in treating the patient.
I also believe that every nurse must show respect and dignity to each patient regardless of their social economic status or race. The client must always be put first in every situation, which is not a natural tendency for any individual. I think of nursing as providing more than just medical treatment to the patient, but rather nurses should strive to provide holistic care to their clients. Sometimes all it takes it listening to the patient to make them feel better. Professionalism, as defined above, is very important to the nursing profession.
Becoming a nurse is a self-less and serving position. When people think of nurses, they think of the individual who takes the time to explain things to the clients and comfort them through their illness. Unfortunately, many nurses do not see themselves as there to serve their patients, but rather just to make money and put their time in. This approach to nursing leads one to believe that being a nurse is just a job. I think that when a person recognizes nursing as more than a job, but as a profession, they begin to act and evolve into a professional nurse.
When an individual takes pride in their work, the process of self-actualization, as discussed below, begins to manifest, and the individual understands and recognizes that their role as a nurse can be much more rewarding when they take those extra steps in caring and serving for their client. If every nurse took those extra steps, nursing as a profession would obtain more respect. Deciding to Become a Nurse I originally entered the medical field as a registered medical assistant. I was fascinated with the medical field and was drawn to it because of the job security.
As I gained more experience in the medical field, I realized the level of independence that a nurse could exercise in their ability to advocate for his or her patient. I liked the idea that the nurse could be directly involved in the client care and decision making process. I decided that I wanted work in a position where I could advocate and have more control over patient case, so I decided to return to school. I continued to work as a medical assistant as took my prerequisite classes.
The longer I worked as a registered medical assistant, the more confirmation I got that I wanted more decision-making responsibility and more exposure to the clinical aspect of client care. I initially wanted to obtain my bachelor’s degree in nursing, but I realized that I would be able to actually practice as a nurse sooner if I obtained by associates degree in nursing (ADN). I was always very vocal to my family and friends, that my associate’s degree was just to get my foot in the door and start practicing, but ultimately, I wanted to obtain my nurse practitioner’s license.
So, when I decided to re-enroll in the RN to BSN program, it did not come as a surprise to any of my family or friends. I generally work with two other nurses at my job. My immediate supervisor, who has been a practicing RN for over 20 years, fully supports my decision to obtain my bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). In fact, I believe that my pursuit of a BSN has inspired her to do the same. The other nurse I work with does not understand why I would “waste” my time in obtaining my nurse practitioner’s license.
She appears content in her with her level of education and has no desire to continue and obtain her MSN. Despite the mixed reactions from my colleagues, I am confident that my decision to further my education was the right decision. The more I talk to seasoned nurses, the more I realize that the best thing for me to do would be to obtain my nurse practitioner license. This degree would have a dual purpose because I also have a strong desire to teach nursing classes at some point in my career.
This RN-BSN program is just the next step to achieve my long-term personal and professional goals. Article 1: What Contribute to Professionalism? In the article, What Contributes to Professionalism? by Kathleen LaSala and Jennene Nelson, published in Medsurg Nursing in 2005, the authors examine several different areas that contribute to nursing professionalism. This article discusses professional appearance, job interviews, professional meetings, and professional presentations, in an effort to inform the reader that professionalism extends beyond just the nurse-patient relationship.
The authors highlight the importance of professional dress and appearance even in a culture that is becoming increasingly casual and expressive (p. 63-64). The article explains that professional attire includes clean appearance, minimal jewelry, conservative attire and no visible tattoos. The article also touches on professional behavior, including eating healthy, maintaining confident body language and avoiding the use of offensive language. This article took a more holistic approach and also examined professionalism as it extends to job interviews, professional presentations and meetings (p. 66).
It appears the authors of this article were attempting to outline simple, yet comprehensive steps that nurses can follow in many different settings in order to present themselves as professionals and properly represent the nursing profession. As I was reading through this article, at times I thought to myself that many of the concepts were self-explanatory or common sense, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that many of the nurses and other health care professionals that I work with or have worked with do not follow these simple concepts and as a result, the client-nurse relationship is not as strong as it could be.
For example, I work with several medical assistants who are morbid obese, un-kept and have visible tattoos. Several of my patients, especially the elderly ones, appear uncomfortable having these medical assistants attending to them. I agree with most of the content of this article. I believe that nurses should take pride in themselves, their personal appearance and behavior. The article states that, “the nurse should attempt to maintain reasonable body mass index, eat nutritiously, exercise, and avoid detrimental behaviors such as smoking and heavy drinking” (p. 64).
It is refreshing to find an article on professionalism that goes beyond the surface concepts and advances the fact that nurses should take care of themselves physically. Nursing is a demanding profession and in order to keep up with the demand, I believe that a nurse needs to be in good physical health. Additionally, I believe that a nurse will have a better rapport with their clients if they “practice what they preach,” and live the healthy lifestyle they encourage their patients to live. The comprehensive approach of this article made me realize that nursing professionalism extends beyond your job or shift.
It helped me conceptualize the different between a job and a profession: a job you just clock in and out and a profession is a lifestyle change. Article 2: Professionalism of Associate Degree Nurses: The Role of Self-Actualization The article Professionalism of Associate Degree Nurses: The Role of Self-Actualization, written by Susan Fetzer and published by Nurse Professionalism in 2003, studies the professionalism of nurses with associate degrees in comparison to nurses with bachelor’s degrees.
The article explains that traditionally professional concepts are taught through induction (139). This approach assumes that professionalism is taught in an educational environment before the individual actually assumes their role in the workplace. The article however studies ADN nurses and BSN nurses in an attempt to challenge the traditional inductive approach. After surveying both ADN and BSN nurses, the results indicate that both self-actualization and work experience positively and significantly influence the development of professionalism in nursing (142).
The article looks to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and defines self-actualization as “reflecting the potential of individuals to fulfill themselves in order to be doing the best they are capable of doing” (p. 140). The study ultimately found that the internal variable of self-actualization is directly correlated to professionalism. “The greater the self-actualization, the more likely the ADN nurse will assimilate and integrate behaviors, attitudes, and values of a professional culture” (p. 142). The study also examined the external variable of work experience I and also found that there was a positive correlation to professionalism.
The author is attempting to advance the idea that RN to BSN programs may need to reconsider their method of inducting and injecting professional values, attitudes and behaviors into RN-BSN students. The author suggests that RN-BSN students have already acquired the values of professionalism through the process of self-actualization and work experience and therefore teaching these skills is not necessary. Instead, the author suggests that the educational program assess their students and work on further developing the students’ strengths and addressing their weaknesses (143).
I thought that this article was fascinating and very relevant to this class. I agree with the author that professionalism can be taught through induction, but that is not the only way to acquire professionalism. Many of the accelerated ADN programs do not have as much time to devote to the study of professionalism, but once these nurses enter the field, they acquire those professional skills through the process of self-actualization and work experience. Prior to entering nursing school, I worked in the medical field for over seven years as a registered medical assistant.
Even though I was not working as an RN, I acquired many of the professional skills that are emphasized to RNs, just by working and observing. I agree with the ultimate conclusion the author reached. I think that it would be more beneficial for RN-BSN programs to reevaluate the method by which they teach professionalism. I also recognize that many ADN and even BSN nurses do not acquire professionalism through self-actualization or work experience, so it may be necessary to teach the fundamentals of professionalism as well.
However, I believe that many of the RNs strive to present themselves in a professional manner. Florence Nightingale Florence Nightingale has been called the founder of modern nursing. Her theory of nursing is often referred to as an environmental theory because she linked environmental factors with the clients’ health. The five environmental factors she identified were pure fresh air, pure water, efficient drainage, cleanliness, and light. These factors were especially significant when considering the times that Nightingale was living.
There was no sanitation system and many people were uneducated regarding the important of cleanliness (Blais & Hayes, 2006, p. 100). Nightingale set the stage for many nursing techniques that are used today. “Ventilation, cleanliness, quiet, warmth, and diet remain integral parts of nursing and health care today” (Blais & Hayes, 2006, p. 100). Her contribution to modern nursing was huge, but yet, it was based on such simple concepts. Nightingale saw the role of the nurse as being proactive and patient-centered.
One of the reasons I admire Nightingale’s philosophy so much is because she believed that nursing is a calling, not just a job (Theory of Florence Nightingale, 2012, p. 1). I think that Nightingale’s theory promotes professionalism. If all nurses saw nursing as a “calling,” then there would be a lot more care and compassion, and less burn out and frustration. I would define Nightingale’s theory as a nursing practice theory. She emphasized specific concepts and ideas that can be practiced by nurses to improve client health and well-being.
Her ideas were not abstract thoughts nor were they ideas that were refined through a series of studies (Blais & Hayes, 2006, p. 98). Rather, they were practical concepts that when implemented produced significant results. Summary In conclusion, professionalism is as hard to define as it is to practice. Nurses should strive to implement concepts of professionalism in all areas of their life. In doing so, individuals will begin to think of nursing as a profession, rather than simply a job. I think that Florence Nightingale had the correct idea of thinking of nursing as a calling.
Reference Page Blais, K. K. & Hayes, J. S. (2011). Professional Nursing Practice: Concepts and Prospectives (6th Ed. ) Boston, Mass. : Pearson. Fetzer, Susan (2003). Professionalism of Associate Degree Nurses: The Role of Self-Actualization. Nurse Professionalism, Vol 24 (No. 3), 139-143. LaSala, Kathleen B. and Nelson, Jenenne (2005). What Contributes to Professionalism? Medsurg Nursing, Vol 14 (No. 1), 63-67. Theory of Florence Nightingale (2012). Currentnursing. com. Retrieved from http://currentnursing. com/nursing_theory/Florence_Nightingale_theory. html.