No, it's not the degree or education that prevents everyone from seeing us as professionals. It's not even ourselves, or the way we perform our jobs. ---- Just take a look at the post about demanding families ---- It is the perception of the general public about what our job entails that prevents us from attaining "professional" status. The general public sees the Doctors saving their lives, they do not see the nurses calling them in the middle of the day or night, relaying to the doctor the symptoms and trying to get orders that will prevent them from coding. A lot of people say "the Doctor saved my life", how many people say "A Nurse saved my life"? Not too many. To the general public we are all bedpan pushers and glorified waitresses, at that job only to serve them. After all, they pay dearly for that room, the waitress should be a little quicker. Most do not take into account (or probably know) exactly what we do.
Boy, that sounds really cynical. But, it's true. There are few people who really appreciate what we do. Few people who realize that their nurse has had an indepth discussion about what would be in the patient's best interest, or caught a symptom that had been missed by another "professional". Some would be appalled to know that the doctor asked, "well, what do I need to order?"
We all know nursing is a multi-faceted job. We all know how technical it can be, how stressing and demanding. And, we all know how touching one of those few patients can be who truly appreciate when you go a little extra for them.
We are professionals, no matter what the degree, no matter what the public, our administrators, or even each other may think.