Historically, one’s perception of a nurse could be represented by mental images of conformity. Dressed in crisp, pallid uniforms; individuals projected a polished and poised appearance lacking the embodiment of unique qualities. Regardless of their disciplined nature, a nurse may have only been considered an altruist servant of to their community or as an assistant to a physician. Rarely were they considered a professional. Modern advancements in academia have secured nurses a respected position within the professional community. What in particular contributes to professionalism? LaSala and Nelson state that: “appearance, behavior, and communication have a cumulative effect on the professional image” (2005).
A professional appearance reflects an impressionable message in which a patient may feel more secure in your ability to care for them, as it appears you are able to care for yourself. Professional behavior is necessary in order to convey a role of influence. In order for a nurse to effectively educate, she herself must model positive health promotional practices and avoid damaging convention. Additionally, “posture and body language are one influence on others’ perception of competence” (LaSala, Nelson, 2005).
Professional communication is vital to a nurse’s credibility. Whether spoken or written, “An individual who uses language skillfully and appropriately reflects intelligence and knowledge” (Arnold and Boggs, 2004). The significance of professionalism in appearance, behavior, and communication is essential to understand. Positive, professional influence will enable a nurse to develop trusting relationships with their patients, which in turn, will ensure competent care and the ability to maintain the respect earned as professionals.
LaSala, K. B., & Nelson, J. (2005). What contributes to professionalism? Medsurg Nursing, 14(1), 63-7. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/230521474?accountid=89121
Arnold, E., & Boggs, K.U. (2004). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses. St. Louis: Saunders