Are We Really a Profession? - page 5

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   ICUBecky
    hey everyone!
    i just want to comment on the whole salary/ clock punching discussion. i have worked salary as a bedside nurse and to be honest, it sucked. i didn't get any compensation for staying an hour or two after my regular shift ended, no holiday pay, no shift differentials, no weekend differentials. now, i work on an hourly basis and IMO it is much better. you actually get compensated for the hours you work.
    however, i think any nurse other than a bedside nurse should be paid salary...with overtime included of course.
    as far as nursing being a profession...tough call. i'd like to think we all are...but most of the time, if not all, i don't think we are. we are very controlled and we don't have a lot of autonomy!

  2. by   eddy
    This is a discussion that has no true resolution but...

    I think we are PART of a profession. The medical profession. Nursing is not a specific profession in itself. Depending on how and what you do as a nurse decides what part of the medical profession you are actually a part of. A school nurse, an OR nurse and a Tele nurse are VERY VERY VERY different jobs/ vocations/whatever. They don't do the same thing, and one is not qualified (in general) to do the others job in the practical sense. However, all nurses are a part of the bigger picture of medical care. To really have a nurse profession, I think all nurses would have to be in large part interchangeable throughout.

    When you get down to it, some of us are tools a doctor utilizes as an extension of care. Some of us are caregivers to elderly folks who are not so bad they need a doc. The list goes on. The reason I say this is not to belittle us, but to point out that we are merely PART of the equation of the bigger picture, the medical profession.

    For instance, you have people in accounting which has been referenced...
    A person who went to college and got their degree in Accounting and practices accounting as a STAFF ACCOUNTANT... They are a staff accountant that is a member of the accounting profession. Just as a CFO who is more or less the ultimate decision maker in terms of those financials that the staff accountant did is also a member of the accounting profession. A staff accountant is much like us as nurses. They do the number crunching front line stuff. The CFO does the analytical and diagnostic aspects using much of the info the staff accountant has provided for his company, which makes him quite similar to a doctor in this case. They are both members of the same profession. There is no staff accountant profession. The staff accountant is just part of the equation as is the CFO, but together as a goup they make up the so called profession.

    Nursing is NOT a profession in itself. It is part of one.
  3. by   live4today
    Originally posted by flowerchild
    We nurses didn't question whether or not we were professionals until after hospitals became a business.
    15 years ago, other professionals questioned it, but not the nurses. We knew who we were and where we stood. It was docs, profs that I remember doing the questioning....they said that one must have at least a masters degree to be considered a professional. It is their opinion, it was as cut and dry as that!

    I am still a professional and always will be a professional registered nurse. If you are not in a position that you feel comfortable with yourself using professional to describe yourself b/c you are a nurse, then perhaps you should do what ever it takes to change that. Can we nurses tolerate this without a fight? According to this debate there are many of you who are saying that you are not a professional. That's really very sad, imo.
    I guess I'm old fashioned, nursing is my calling, and the nursing process is part of me, my work, and my everyday's ingrained. And yes, you can use the nursing process to do anything...and I do...but, do you know of any non nurses who use it like we do? NO! There is a organization called Baldridge, it has copied our nursing process, they call it PDSA I believe, it is a way for corporations, and other ventures to win an award for "Excellence". It is very elite and extremely rigid. IT IS THE NURSING PROCESS. To get a Baldridge award is a huge honor for a corp. There are a very FEW who meet the criteria. Nurses meet the criteria everyday, when given the chance.

    I had to go to college to get my degree that allowed me to become a nurse. The level and intensity of education I received vs those of other degrees is not even comparable. The nurses had to study constantly. The people in my support courses that were not in nursing always commented on how much we had to study and how thick our books were as compared to what they were doing. Yes I believe that my course of study was advanced. At the time it was said that if you could get through the nursing program you could get through law school...meaning that the intensity and level of cognition and dedication that was required was similar.

    I base my opinion on personal experience. I know I'm being far from scientific in my approach toward this "debate" but, I thought perhaps my post will win a point or two for my side. LOL.
    Couldn't have said it any better myself, flowerchild. You've won my heart! :kiss
  4. by   nimbex
    Wonderful thread, have enjoyed reading the different views.

    I don't wish to split hairs over professional vrs. profession, or discuss my bad spelling either

    I am a licensed registered PROFESSIONAL nurse. I've both clocked in and not clocked in, been treated poorly and praised highly.

    Regardless, I am a professional, I show up, act in a mannor that mirrors the way in which to be treated, participate in change to better our PROFESSION, join PROFESSIONAL organizations and acheive PROFESSIONAL certifications.

    I see myself as a professional, NO-ONE's opinion, or rules like clock punching can take that away from me.

    ps, also love all nurses, joining me in my PROFESSION:kiss
  5. by   jurbyjunk
    Hey SuzyK, don't want to get into unions, but just read your thought that a union was for non-professions. Many "professions" are actually unionized but prefer to call it something else. The "Association of Boeing Engineers" (Boeing aircraft company, Seattle, Washington) springs to mind. My aunt, an anti-unionist and bigot if ever there was one, used to rail to my mother about unions being "communist", that anyone with any ounce of integrity would not be unionized. At the same time, her husband, my uncle, was a member of the ABE bargaining committee, negotiating the engineers pay raise. Go figure.
  6. by   Q.
    The following questions I post here are actually the words of one helluva debater: Wildtime88. Some of you who are newer to the board might not know him, but if you do a search you will find that he often started debates just like this: this is what allnurses used to be about. his honor, I will post these questions that I happen to agree with anyhow. I'd like someone to address these:
    If we are a profession, then....

    List the things a nurse at the bedside can legally do without an order.

    Remind everyone about activity and nutrition orders and that oxygen can not be placed without an order to cover it.

    Autonomy is only a courtesy that can be just as quickly redrawn if a non-nurse sees fit to do so.
  7. by   KarafromPhilly
    Personally, I got through law school. In contrast, nursing school reminded me of the eighth grade. NOBODY that I went to nursing school with would have lasted two weeks. Give me a break. Maybe the accredited four-year university where I earned my BSN was exceptionally lame, but I don't think so. And I don't think that you have to feel comfortable describing yourself as a "professional" in order to be proud of the work you do.
  8. by   MollyMo
    Originally posted by Susy K
    A calling?! CALLING?!! Maybe I just wanted to be a nurse because I liked science, a bio major was too difficult and I liked Women's Health, and needed a job.

    I'm not sure I like nursing associated with a "calling." To me that infers that we shouldn't demand higher pay and better conditions. Being a nun is a calling. Not being a nurse.

    For me nursing was a calling because it was the very last thing I wanted to do. I wanted something else for my life. I was actually in pre-med when I first started college. But I believe--and this is just for me-- nursing is where God wanted me to be. Now understand, this is just me. And believe me when I say that I am one of the biggest mouths on my unit demanding better conditions and doing what I can to bring about change. I believe that all my steps are ordered by God. But I don't work for free. I expect to paid and paid well for my skills. I still call myself a professional. But by the definitions I posted earlier, I am not. We are not. But if one criteria in order to be called a professional is autonomy, what profession is truly autonomous? I can't think of one. We all have SOME autonomy, it's a matter of degree. Some have more freedom to think and act independently--or less restrictions--than others. But than shouldn't diminish the professionalism.
  9. by   Q.
    Originally posted by fergus51
    Whoever is in charge, just like the Nurse managers controls ours. I have a lot more flexibility in scheduling compared to my dad the ex cop. The docs do control who is on call, but I am in a smallish town and a lot of the times, they are not able to do that because they are in short supply and if their patient gets admitted I call them. Control is all relative. A lot of what nurses ****** about having to put up with, they don't actually have to put up with, they choose to. I honestly feel I have more control over my career and its conditions than my father ever had. As for docs, it's iffy. The governement here didn't give in to their demands either.
    I have to disagree. Who ultimately approves our nursing policies, procedures, etc? Either administrators or physicians. The belief that nurses have autonomy over their own practice is a big farce, in my opinion. We don't. In the end, we answer to non-nurses and have to have our work approved by non-nurses.
  10. by   ResearchRN
    Am I a professional?

    1. I went to school, got a degree, took a test, and got a license. Now I go to work everyday and do my job with a little bit of griping about the working conditions and lousy pay and then I go home and continue to complain about my job and whether or not I'm a professional online. Am I a professional?

    on the other hand

    I went to school, got a degree, took a test, and got a license. Now I go to work everyday and do my job with a little bit of griping about the working conditions and lousy pay and then I go home and write my congressman, I participate in dialogue with management, attend meetings and conferences with my peers to learn something, or discuss the pros and cons of unionization and/or discuss the status of this occupation that I share with my peers. Am I a professional?

    2. A doctor yells at me and I stand there and take it, or I cry, or I complain to my co-workers and my manager. Am I acting professionally?


    A doctor yells at me and I tell him that his actions and/or tone of voice are inappropriate and unacceptable and that when he is prepared to act professionally he should come speak the me. Am I acting professionally?

    3. I'm very proud of my ADN, BSN, MSN, but I think my education is complete. I don't need to get my BSN, MSN, PhD because I'm already a better nurse than most of the people who have those degrees. I can nurse circles around them. I don't take the time to teach new staff, I don't participate in my specially association, I don't question why we do things. I don't try to conduct research to determine the appropriateness, effectiveness, utility of what we do. I don't read peer reviewed research articles, I've never tried to get anything published, I don't participate in journal clubs. Am I a professional?

    but then again,

    I've completed my ADN, BSN, MSN, but I know that it is my professional obligation to continue my education for the good of my patients, my co-workers, my profession and my self. I also know that as a professional I am obligated share my knowledge and experience with new persons entering my profession. I recognize that my specialty is constantly changing and I need to keep up to date, therefore, I participate in my specialty association, I subscribe to and read appropriate journals. I formulate ideas for research in my field and try to implement that research. I've written articles and been published. Am I a professional?

    4. My co-workers don't like me. They're petty and gossiping behind my back. This really hurts me and makes work difficult for me. Am I a professional?


    My co-workers don't like me. They're petty and gossiping behind my back. I couldn't care less. I am an exceptional nurse who provides exceptional care to my patients. Am I a professional
  11. by   researchrabbit
    Hmmm...I have never considered myself to be anything other than a professional, in every job I did as an adult, salaried or hourly, timeclock or no timeclock, nurse, author, typographer, teacher, secretary.

    Every job I did was my profession at the time; I chose to be there, I did the best I could do, I worked hard to learn everything I could about what I was doing. I approached each of my jobs with creativity and enthusiasm. When I couldn't muster those fires any more, I did something new...because then it became a JOB instead of a PROFESSION.

    Here is yet ANOTHER definition...which tells you something about the fluidity of language and the different perceptions one can have that impede understanding...

    pro-fes-sion Pronunciation Key (pr-fshn)

    An occupation or career: "One of the highest compliments a child can pay a parent is to choose his or her profession" (Joan Nathan).
    An occupation, such as law, medicine, or engineering, that requires considerable training and specialized study.
    The body of qualified persons in an occupation or field: i.e., members of the teaching profession.
  12. by   Q.
    Let's not confuse "professional" with "profession."

    A Taco Bell employee can be "professional" in that they dress appropriately, are on time, do their job correctly, are curteous and don't encourage bad behavior, and are good examples. But just because that person is professional at work doesn't mean that they are in the Taco Bell profession.
  13. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by Susy K
    I have to disagree. Who ultimately approves our nursing policies, procedures, etc? Either administrators or physicians. The belief that nurses have autonomy over their own practice is a big farce, in my opinion. We don't. In the end, we answer to non-nurses and have to have our work approved by non-nurses.
    Maybe it's because I am at a different place, but the administrators that approve our nursing policies and practices are nurse administrators, NOT physicians except as far as medical practice goes (prescriptions and such are not in our scope of practice, so I don't consider myself not autonomous in nursing practice becaue I don't make medical decisions). It's the same for cops. They answer to their administrators, many of whom haven't worked as street cops since the 60s.

    I feel very autonomous because if I don't like something we have an excellent nurse manager who supports us in changing things (like instituting baby friendly initiatives, not following one doc's idea to wash surgical wounds with hydrogen peroxide, mobilization protocols, tranfers to PP time, etc) and many have been changed. We don't have complete free control of everything, because we are not independant practitionners. Can you imagine if every nurse had complete autonomy? CHAOS!

    I stand by the fact that half the stuff we b*tch that administrators and non nurses force us to do, we ALLOW them to and we don't try to change it at all. As a nurse I ave the right to refuse to do anything that I deem harmful to my patients, and my practice has to meet RNABC standards.