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Professionalism: the competence or the skill expected by a professional. In this paper, I will be discussing professionalism specifically in the career of nursing. I will provide examples of adequate professionalism versus examples of unacceptable professionalism in the workplace. It is important in the career of nursing to remain professional yet situations will arise that will challenge nurses to carry on in a professional manner.
Nurses take on many roles, yet throughout; the goal is to act in a professional manner.
Some examples of being professional in nursing are having a positive attitude, ‘demonstrating a strong sense of commitment to the role of being a nurse, positive patient interaction, interacting with patients/family members, colleagues, and members of the healthcare team adeptly and sensitively, teamwork, and integrity. Having a positive attitude can instantly heighten the patient’s mood right as nurses walk through the door. If a nurse is in a situation where the patient has received some bad news, it is crucial to be empathetic to their feelings and the situation.
A professional way to respond in this situation would be to discuss options with the patient and make sure they are well educated on the subject at hand. The nurse as a healthcare provider mostly controls positive and professional patient interactions. Nurses have the power to set the mood and tone with patients during interactions. If there is pessimistic family in the room, the patient will most likely take on the attitude of their family members. How the nurse interacts with the patient and family members can lead to a more positive outcome and a better quality of care as the nurse encourages the patient and motivates them to do their daily tasks.
Patients will be a more willing to comply when an air of professionalism and positivity is present. An example of poor patient interaction would be when a nurse is burned out on their floor and becomes impersonal and nonprofessional with patients and their families. ‘Findings clearly indicate that nurse burnout is associated with increased odds of reporting negative patient outcomes.’
Another role of being a nurse is having many professional responsibilities. A nurse is responsible for charting everything regarding the patient, passing medications, arriving at a nursing diagnosis, concluding how to treat the diagnosis, and coming up with a plan of care. Professionalism is demonstrated at this level by following the code of ethics for nursing, having confidentiality between patients, and being respectful of patients and their decisions even if those decisions are not what the nurse believes is the correct thing to do. Nurses take on a role of informing patients of the best possible options for their care but patients can deny these options due to their own beliefs and wants.
When caring for a patient, a nurse will have other workers on the patient’s care plan team, such as physical therapist, certified nurse’s aid, occupational therapist, physicians, and nutritionists. With having many people involved with the patient’s care, a nurse must be able to demonstrate professional teamwork and be able to work altogether for the best care of the patient. Nurses may have to take on a leadership role and delegate each team member’s activities. The end goal is for the patient to have the utmost quality of care and to leave the facility educated and in a better condition than when they arrived. Finally, every nurse must maintain professional integrity throughout his or her career with patients and team members. This establishes trust with one another, which ultimately is a main factor in professionalism. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and moral uprightness.
Professionalism is not only how we act but is how we present ourselves as well. While being a nurse means for the most part you can wear scrubs for your shift, there are still guidelines set in place for the safety, not only of the patient but for nurses as well. ‘The Personal Protective Equipment, specialized clothing or equipment (e.g., gowns, masks or respirators, protective eyewear, and gloves) that you wear for protection against exposure to infectious materials, should be readily available in a patient care area. (CDC, 2007)
Not only do nurses have to wear PPE, but have to have hair pulled back from face and shoulders. A simple ponytail will not suffice because when bending over doing stool specimen sample on a patient who is suspected to have C. diff, hair can fall from behind back into their feces and now the nurse is contaminated. Wherever the nurse is working, there will be specific rules to follow regarding personal hygiene and grooming as well as uniform. A dimension of nursing is the cognitive aspect. ‘Nursing education should be able to develop professional knowledge. All learners should have a basic cognitive framework for understanding the professionalization.’
In the nursing field, education never stops. Nurses are required every two years to do continued education and relicense. If a nurse desires to go into a specialty of nursing, more certifications and more education for the specialty is required. Science is always changing, and technology is always evolving so nurses must stay up to date on the technology in their own facility. Continuing education for a nurse is an important part of professionalism to remain on the cutting edge of science in the field of nursing. Professionalism is required in the nursing field and every nurse must be professional in their own field of practice. Professionalism in nursing is achievable and maintainable if the nurse is striving to be the best nurse he or she can be, stay educated, and make this a personal goal.
Ghadirian, F., Salsali , M., & Cheraghi , M. A. (2014, Febuary 19 ). Regis College . Retrieved from What is Professionalism in Nursing : Nantsupawt, A., Natsupawat, R., Kunaviktikul, W., Turale, S., & Poghosyan, L. (2015 ).
Nurse Burnout, Nurse-Reported Quality of Care, and Patient Outcomes inThai Hospitals . Sigma , 1-2. Potter, P. A., Perry, A. G., & Stockert, P. (2017). Fundamentals of Nursing. St. Louis : Elsevier . S, B. (2020, January 10). Preceptors: Defining, Maintaining Professionalism in Nursing . Retrieved from Michigan Center for Nursing
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