Is Nursing A Profession?

  1. 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
    > practice
    > J) Strong professional identity and commitment to the development of the
    > profession
    > 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.....
  2. Visit Dplear profile page

    About Dplear

    Joined: Nov '00; Posts: 900; Likes: 35
    Registered Nurse


  3. by   3651bht
    As long as men carry a piece of wood onto a field, hit a ball, spit, scratch, and curse I will continue to call myself a professional.
  4. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Maybe the question ought to read: What do we want the profession to look like in the very near future? Do we want to hang on to old baggage or do we truly want to create the profession that we all deserve to embrace?

  5. by   susanmary
    As Dylan perfectly states "the times they are 'a changing." Clearly, nurses must recreate our roles to change with the times. I'm not waiting for others to make change. I've contacted "head honchos" in the hospital, presented them with specific data, and have been successful in getting increased tuition reimbursement for nurses, extended orientation for new nurses. I decided to be part of the solution. Not every suggestion was immplemented, but I did not sit idly by.

    On a much grander scale, I truly believe that nurse's time should be billable. OT/PT, etc. bill their time -- why is RN time not billable? (Imagine the AMA would have a bird -- as they would perceive we would be infringing on their $$$.) This is something that I would like to see in the near future.

  6. by   prmenrs
    In 1965, the discussion du jour in the New Jersey State Student Nurse Assn was whether or not nursing was a profession. Good grief!!!! With all due respect to Catalano, CAN WE PLEASE GET OVER THIS???

    Sorry. Just had to get this of my chest!
  7. by   mustangsheba
    I don't know about anybody else, but nursing is my profession.