According to Catalano (Nursing NOW! 2nd edition) there are certain
> characteristics that are important and that are common among jobs that are
> considered to be true professions. They are as follows:
> A) High intellectual level
One would hope so, but not necessarily true always
> B) High level of individual responsibility and accountability
> C) Specialized body of knowledge
> D) Knowledge that can be learned in institutions of higher education
Yes to these three
E) Public service & altruistic activity
F) Public service valued over financial gain
Not always. But that's true of many other professionals like docs,
lawyers, dentists, etc. The percentage of those who are public-service
oriented is probably small.
> G) Relatively high degree of autonomy and independence of practice
True in some settings and specialties, but not in others
> H) Need for a well-organized and strong organization representing the
> members of the profession and controlling the quality of practice.
We have such an organization, but many nurses do not participate.
> I) A code of ethics that will guide the members of the profession in their
> J) Strong professional identity and commitment to the development of the
> K) demonstration of professional competency and possession of a legally
> recognized license.
Yes to those three
Let's face it. To some people, nursing's a job. For some it's a
vocation, a calling. We all do subscribe to a code of ethics and the idea of
professional competency and need a license to practice. And we are all
expected to behave in a "professional" manner. Sometimes I think nursing
educators get too caught up in the attempt to define nursing as a "true
profession". We have all these Theories of Nursing in an attempt to prove
it, although I've never heard of a Theory of Doctoring or Dentistry, and they
don't seem to have any problem calling themselves a profession. Nor do they
worry about it. They do the same as nursing--draw upon the biological and
social sciences to form a body of useful knowledge, and adapt it to the work.
Sherwin Nuland, in the 2/19 issue of The New Republic, takes
nursing ed to task in a review of Sally Satel's book, "PC, MD" She quotes
from an article by Jean Watson in Nursing Science Quarterly. "In summary, as
nursing locates itself within the postmodern complexity, with its shadow and
light side, and as nursing seeks a dwelling place which is open-ended,
ambiguous, dynamically constructed, incessantly questioned, endlessly
self-revising, never set, but floating and moving with the river of life, will
nurses be part.......yadayadayada" God help us! Dr. Watson may believe
that this type of writing constitutes professionalism. I think it makes us a
If you want to read the whole article, which is really about
political correctness in medicine, go to
and hit the search
button for "Indoctrinology" The stuff about nursing is in section III of the
review, dealing with "Nursing Grudges"
I copied this off a newsgroup, and thought it was quite interesting.....