Thoughts Regarding Professionalism & Nursing

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    As a nurse, how do you display professionalism ... what does 'professionalism' mean to you? What specific characteristics are needed in order to be a professional nurse nowadays? How does a nurse make a difference? Share your thoughts.
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    Interesting this topic came up because right now it's a hot-button issue where I work.

    I am a staff development nurse and recently designed a new curriculum for our CNAs. The foundation for the entire program is professionalism & professional behaviors. We teach clinical skills, but all coming from the professional behaviors standpoint.

    When I presented the new curriculum to some of the nurse managers/CNSs, many of them were deeply disturbed by the professionalism framework and stated that such behaviors are reserved for Registered Nurses. Naturally, a debate ensued and currently my whole program is being discussed at an executive level.

    My take on professionalism is that nursing doesn't own the concept and that any employee is capable of, and should display, professionalism which in my definition, is professional behaviors such as proper dress, accountability, responsibility, being punctual and customer service skills.
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    A profession consists of expert practitioners who profess, or promise to provide a service to the vulnerable members of society, so altruism is a part of it, with integrity and respect for the individual close behind. I don't think that professionalism is a set of competencies but mainly an attitude; a real professional is a technician who cares. Professionalism is a longterm expression of your values through your actions, not a short-term response to customer satisfaction surveys.
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    Quote from Susy K
    Interesting this topic came up because right now it's a hot-button issue where I work.

    I am a staff development nurse and recently designed a new curriculum for our CNAs. The foundation for the entire program is professionalism & professional behaviors. We teach clinical skills, but all coming from the professional behaviors standpoint.

    When I presented the new curriculum to some of the nurse managers/CNSs, many of them were deeply disturbed by the professionalism framework and stated that such behaviors are reserved for Registered Nurses. Naturally, a debate ensued and currently my whole program is being discussed at an executive level.

    My take on professionalism is that nursing doesn't own the concept and that any employee is capable of, and should display, professionalism which in my definition, is professional behaviors such as proper dress, accountability, responsibility, being punctual and customer service skills.

    EEEEKKK!! Youre one of THEM LOL....sorry, I'm a CNA...our SDC is super anal about the silliest things, but seems to overlook the bigger things...go figure.

    I think your professionalism idea is a good one though. I kind of wonder if its something even nurses sometimes lose after school because I've seen some of them do some really bizarre things. But sometimes I wonder from what dimension some of our CNAs came from. I can't imagine it would create a controversy wanted to teach CNAs to be more professional, since they're the ones who have the most immediate contact with the patients and families.
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    To me, being a professional is being a person who takes pride in her job/position, whatever job that may be: professionalism is more than just how you look to other people in your job, it's also how you view yourself. It's more than how you dress, whether your scrubs are ironed or just out of the dryer....it's how you fit inside those scrubs and what image you project to the ones you care for and their families. It's in how you do your job, the effort you put into your work, and how you uphold your title. It's shown in the care that you provide for your residents or your patients. It's in the respect that you show the doctors that you work with(....provided they have earned that respect). It's in the fellowship that you share with the other nurses you work with on a daily basis, and how you work together as a team.

    It's shown in your speech, your attitude, your work, and your character. It's a dedication to yourself to be your best, not just "good enough" for today.
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    To me professionalism is doing your own class asignments.
    fiveofpeep likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from Susy K
    Interesting this topic came up because right now it's a hot-button issue where I work.

    I am a staff development nurse and recently designed a new curriculum for our CNAs. The foundation for the entire program is professionalism & professional behaviors. We teach clinical skills, but all coming from the professional behaviors standpoint.

    When I presented the new curriculum to some of the nurse managers/CNSs, many of them were deeply disturbed by the professionalism framework and stated that such behaviors are reserved for Registered Nurses. Naturally, a debate ensued and currently my whole program is being discussed at an executive level.

    My take on professionalism is that nursing doesn't own the concept and that any employee is capable of, and should display, professionalism which in my definition, is professional behaviors such as proper dress, accountability, responsibility, being punctual and customer service skills.
    I am in staff development as well -- and freaky as it may be, I have just recently presented our nurse directors with a program I designed to put into place for our CNAs -- stressing professionalism and responsible actions. Let me know how yours is recieved!! Our nursing staff has been under utilizing our CNAs and we are raising the bar!! The directors like the idea -- so far... we'll see where it goes!

    Totally agree with your definition of professionalism!!! It shouldn't be merely an RN thing -- it should be an employee thing -- at all levels, all departments, all pay scales!!!
  10. 0
    sounds like Eilana is asking for help on a paper she needs to write. Professional attitude and professional licensure are not the same thing. You can have one without the other, unfortunately.
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    As a nurse, how do you display professionalism ... what does 'professionalism' mean to you?
    I display professionalism by respecting patients' cultures and backgrounds though they may be diametrically opposed to mine. I don't judge my patients' lifestyles; I treat them for their illnesses and help to educate them on how to create health for their bodies, minds, and spirits.

    I would, for instance, suggest to a patient who has COPD and insists on smoking, that the patient might be able to breathe better if he/she didn't smoke. I would suggest that a sugared candy bar might be replaced with a Splenda-flavored candy to the diabetic. A health care professional depends on facts, not personal preference.

    I might suggest that the Type A, completely stressed-out, chronic-pain patient learn some biofeedback relaxation techniques or learn to spend some time rejuvenating his/her spirit.

    I would not force these changes on the alert, oriented, adult patient, however. That would be unprofessional.

    The professional doesn't engage in intimate contact with patients if it could be seen as exploitation of the patient.The professional respects the dignity and is careful to protect, not exploit, the vulnerability of the patient.

    For instance, I would have no need to do a gyne exam on a patient who had no adverse gynecological s/s, and was admitted to the hospital for c/o chest pain. To do so would be unnecessarily invasive, and thus, unprofessional in this context.

    I would also not take advantage of a patient's illness and dependence on my nursing skills to create an emotional bond with that patient. That could be seen as taking advantage of the patient.

    Nor would I date my patients or call them at home to see how they are doing. It could be seen as unprofessional were I to do so.


    What specific characteristics are needed in order to be a professional nurse nowadays?
    Intelligence, flexibility, attention to detail, strong organizational and multitasking abilities, nonjudgemental attitude, and a love for people, to name a few.


    How does a nurse make a difference? Share your thoughts.
    Oh, that's easy. We save lives. We help people live better lives. We help people have less pain, we help people adjust to physical facts of life, we help people save money by teaching them how to live healthier lives. Sometimes, we help people let go of life, too.

    There's nobody that quite can describe all that a nurse does. Nurses are like mothers. You'll really only notice what we do when we're not there.
    Last edit by Angie O'Plasty, RN on Oct 4, '04
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    This request is regarding a class project. We at AllNurses, realize the need for this support. Below is a link for Student Nurses to get that support:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=205

    Here is the intro for this link:

    Dear Nursing Students,

    This forum was opened for nursing students to use to ask nurses questions. If you have assignments to contact nurses or interview, feel free to post your request here. I hope you find this forum helpful.

    Enjoy!

    Brian Short RN
    allnurses.com administrator

    Here is the link to the intro:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80139


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    If you would like this thread moved, I would be happy to do so Just let myself or another Moderator or Administrator know.

    nightngale1998
    Staff Member
    Last edit by nightingale on Oct 4, '04


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