I can only give a definition in context of nursing in Canada as that is where I have been trained and am working, but RNABC which is my nurses association defines professional conduct as:
Behaving in a way that upholds the profession. This includes but is not limited to , practicing in accordance with relevent legislation, the standards for registered nursing practice, and the Canadian nurses assocition code of ethics.
I personally agree with this definition, we need to be held accountable for our actions as a nurse and be self regulating as a professional body. I need to register every year to be called a registered nurse and meet certian standards of practice in order to continue to be able to register.
The professional standards that I have to meet are:
1 To be responsible and accountable for my actions as a
2. Base my practice on a specilized body of knowledge.
ie. know where to get information and use this information
in my practice, also keeping current with the latest
information about my area of work. Professional nurses
never stop learning.
3.Use my knowledge in a competent manner.
ie. this is using my knowledge to assess my patients and
provide appropreate care to them.
4.Adhere to the ethical standards of nursing.
ie. the canadian nurses assocition code of ethics.
5.Work with others in the health care team to provide care
to the public.
ie. communicate with doctors, therapist, aides, etc to
advocate care for my patients, as well as teach my
patients how to access other members of the health care
6. Assumne the primary responsibility to maintain
competence and fitness to practice.
ie. keep educated and practice within my own level of
make sure that I am fit enough, mentally and physically,
to be competent at my job
I have to disagree with the previous poster comments about putting the patient 's needs above our own needs. This is just a way for nurses to burn out. As professionals we should be able to decide for ourselves what is in the best interest of our patients and act on it. That said I do agree with not having long fingernails as that would not be in the best interest of our patients, but to say not take my breaks because I need to give Mrs. Jones a bath, is not a requirement for professionalism. It is more professional to take my break and stay mentally fit to practice and ask another staff member to do the bath, if I don't have time to do it.
As professionals we need to prioritize what we are doing and not be afraid to ask for help and admit when we are over our heads in either workload or ability to do a skill. I think that this is what needs to be emphisized by educators, ask questions and as professionals be willing to share our knowledge with each other. Treat each other with respect and don't forget that we all needed to learn it at one time. Teach each other to support every other nurses practice, if you see someone struggling, help them don't knock them down, we all will benifit as a profession in the end.
Remember to ACT PROFESSIONAL. If all nurses acted professional we would be seen as professionals, not just handmaids to doctors, and slaves to managers and patients.