Are We Really a Profession? - page 3

In reading the literature lately, I've come across several definitions and evolutions of the term "profession," and have since conceded that based on those accepted defintions, a profession we are... Read More

  1. by   fergus51
    Suzy, I would argue no profession perfectly matches those criteria, certainly not law enforcement or medicine! They don't have more control over their work environments than nurses, at least not where I am.
  2. by   spineCNOR
    It's true that being a professional can be a matter of perspective- like the above mentioned example "professional exterminator" or professional hairdresser. People in any occupation can behave in a professional manner, but that does not necessarily mean they will be treated as professionals.

    There is no debate over whether physicians, pharmacists, etc are professionals-- they are automatically granted that status. (And believe me, there are many surgeons who do not behave in a professional manner in their workplace!). But--nurses are not granted that automatic professional status- many other healthcare professionals, doctors, pharamacists, PA's, etc, do not regard nurses as fellow professionals, and certainly don't treat nurses as professionals. Why is this???? Are we still trapped in the doctor's handmaiden sterotype?

    One interesting thing I have seen in the OR (I don't mean to be sexist, but ...) the male nurses are treated very differently than the womenfolk--surgeons treat them with some respect, whereas they tend to treat women nurses very disrespectfully.

    And it's not just other "professions" - nursing managers often treat staff as lesser beings, certainly not as fellow professionals. Maybe this is how they think they can distinquish themselves from the pack, control staff and advance their careers, I don't know. Keeping nurses oppressed is in the best interest of hospital and nursing administrators. If they regarded us as professionals they would have to give us a real voice in policy matters and have to have adequate nursing staff. If we are not professionals there is no reason for administrators to listen to or act on our concerns about patient care.

    What is the answer to this debate? I don't have any answers, only questions, but i'm open to anyone out there who does have an answer!
  3. by   live4today
    I consider nursing a very good profession......so that makes me a professional. If a football player, an actor/actress, etc. can be called a profession, then we are professionals.

    According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word professional means:

    1...(a) Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: a professional field such as law; professional training. (b) Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional ethics.
    2...Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career; amateur and professional actors. 3...Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football. 4...Having or showing great skill; expert: a thoroughly professional repair job.

    A professional is a person following a profession, especially a learned profession. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupaton: hired a professional to decorate the house. A professional is a skilled practitioner: an expert.

    I don't know who Rutty is....but I do know who I am.....and according to how the word profession is described in the dictionary, I am a professional!
    Last edit by live4today on Oct 15, '02
  4. by   ceecel.dee
    Originally posted by Glad2behere
    No, we are not a profession. We are a cluster of small minds, a group of wannabees, a truckload of peons....sometimes a boatload from overseas.
    I do not consider myself or "most" of my coworkers to be small-minded, wannabees or peons. If that is how you are treated in your place of business...change it! If that is how you think of yourself.....it's time for a sabbatical!

    Profession? It really pains me to say no. Suzy K, you have gotten the wheels turning, again. You are right about our practice being borrowed from many other professions. It really is rather deflating....I spend quite a bit of time "charging up" my coworkers about intolerance of poor behavior directed towards nursing by PT, or doctors, or administrators, etc., about having pride in our really good work, our intellegence, our effeciency, our compassion and advocation in all dealings with patients. I've got to regroup here.
  5. by   Q.
    To be fair, when I use terms/definitions, I try to NOT use the dictionary as those are usually defined by a more broad and general sense; instead, I use what is evident in the literature from all disciplines for an extended period of time.
  6. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Susy K
    To be fair, when I use terms/definitions, I try to NOT use the dictionary as those are usually defined by a more broad and general sense; instead, I use what is evident in the literature from all disciplines for an extended period of time.
    Good for you, Susy k. However, I prefer the direct understanding of the word via the most recent dictionary. You have your way of looking at things here, and I have mine. Isn't it great to be born American with soooooooooo many *******' choices?????
  7. by   Q.
    Maybe we should have looked up the term "profession" instead of "professional" seeing as the dictionary describes "professional" as:
    Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: a professional field such as law; professional training. (b) Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional ethics.
    How can we define "professional" without defining "profession?" I thought the discussion was what defines a profession, not a professional?
  8. by   live4today
    Okay smart azz youngun you.......

    I am a Professional because my Profession is called
    Nursing. My title is Licensed Professional Registered Nurse which is a requirement for me to have in order to work in my chosen Profession.

    Debate that Miss Debater...:chuckle...and on that note......to all a goodnight. Time for me to get all spruced up for my midnight date with hubby! He'll be home in 2 1/2 hours!
  9. by   LasVegasRN
    Okay, we aren't going to digress into semantics, right? Right??
  10. by   Stargazer
    I certainly hope not--because to say "one is a professional because one follows a profession" is circuitous logic which doesn't illuminate this discussion or advance it any further--and yes, it's too good a discussion to get bogged down in sophistry.
  11. by   dhenceroth
    My only concern in calling nursing a "profession" is the prevalence of unprofessional behavior that I witness...not only in nursing, but in other so called professional groups, such as Physicians, Lawyers, etc. It almost seems to be an oxymoron to use the word "profession".....
  12. by   mamabear
    I maintain that, as long as we must punch a time clock AND wear uniforms AND work weekends/holidays/round-the-clock shifts AND don't get paid bupkes AND have ungodly responsibilities, we are not a profession!
  13. by   semstr
    Suzy, that is why nursing is having difficulties worldwide.
    So many people think they know all about nursing, because anybody can nurse his sick dog or her sick child, nothing to it, is there?
    Now, explain, or try to explain that professional nursing is more and I mean a lot more then just rubbing backs and giving bedbaths, it's about, recognizing and acting to certain symptoms and caring (!!) the same way for all your patients, no matter what race, status etc. (see the icn-codex for nursing)
    But I also think, we ourselves are our own "profession-poopers", why do we let things happen and being said to us, no other profession would even think about?
    Well, I don't have a solution, but I try to give my students, the next generation of nurses, enough "self-trust" (the real English word is different I know, but it doesn't comes to my fingers to be written here) and ah, now I know, confidence in themselves and the things they learned, so I hope it works for them.
    Take care, Renee

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