Do you think nursing is a profession?

  1. Why or why not? I've spent the last few hours reading articles about nursing as a profession for class and I'm just curious what others think. Disclaimer: this is NOT a homework request. I already submitted my discussion with my viewpoint several weeks ago. I have conflicting views on the subject, and am just curious what the rest of the AN community thinks.
  2. Visit Aurora77 profile page

    About Aurora77, BSN, RN

    Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 888; Likes: 2,260
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in Med Surg


  3. by   CVmursenary
    Depends person to person; some act professional, some do not.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    To answer the question, I am going to specifically focus on bedside nursing since the majority of nurses perform hands-on duties. In my opinion, bedside nursing is a profession and a trade rolled into one tidy package. Moreover, nursing is not the most respected profession for reasons that I will list below.

    I feel that nursing suffered a major blow with the phasing-out of the 3-year diploma RNs. This was the manner in which the majority of nurses were educated in previous generations, and these RNs could hit the ground running as brand new grads in any healthcare setting with minimal orientation (or none at all) due to their very high proportion of hands-on clinical hours.

    Nursing education moved away from a practical hospital-based model to a more theoretical college-based model, and as a result, entire regions of the U.S. are filled with new grads who can quickly formulate care plans and regurgitate the theories of Jean Watson and Callista Roy, but have never inserted Foley catheters, started peripheral IV lines, applied colostomy bags, dropped NG tubes, or located pedal pulses. Many facilities no longer want to incur the massive expense of training these unskilled new grads, and I really cannot blame them. Most, if not all, of these skills should have been learned in school.

    Bedside nursing is a trade and a profession rolled into one. A new 'professional registered nurse' who knows all about theories, care planning, and answering NCLEX-style questions is ineffectual at the bedside without the hands-on 'skills of the trade' that are needed in everyday practice.

    Also, female-dominated professions such as nursing tend to generate less respect than the career pathways primarily occupied by males. Examine the college-educated professions dominated by women: nursing, school teaching, librarianship, social work, and psychology all have similarities including less respect, lower prestige, and not as much pay as jobs dominated by men. While the public views nursing as the most trusted profession as evidenced by multiple surveys, we are not the most respected.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Oct 9, '11 : Reason: Added a paragraph
  5. by   Aurora77
    I agree with you, Commuter. The thing that drew me to nursing was the combination of hands on skills and high level critical thinking. I was a potter for years before becoming a nurse, and my training there colors the way I view nursing. I believe that we have to start from the basics and work our way up.

    Potters should (IMHO) begin by learning basic throwing skills and mastering the clay. Only then are they really ready to take on the science that is glaze chemistry and the alchemy that is the kiln. In the same way nurses should start out with the tasks and patient interaction. Critical thinking should be taught, too, but the ability to integrate and use all of the knowledge packed into our heads comes with time and experience.

    I went the LPN then ASN route to my RN. My school was heavy on clinical time and I had the opportunity to learn skills; not as much as I would have liked but much more than others.

    Now I'm working on my BSN, which is why I'm even thinking about this question. I've always considered a professional someone who gets paid to do what they do. We've been reviewing various ANA documents and discussing the entry into practice question.

    I just wonder why there seems to be such a push to change the image of nursing in such a way that ignores the trade aspect, that deemphasizes the technical skills needed to be a good nurse. I think it reflects our (American) society's disdain for the trades.
  6. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Aurora77
    I just wonder why there seems to be such a push to change the image of nursing in such a way that ignores the trade aspect, that deemphasizes the technical skills needed to be a good nurse. I think it reflects our (American) society's disdain for the trades.
    I could not have said it any better. American society still very much needs blue collar workers who are skilled in certain trades. Nobody should look down upon these people. In fact, I would support the idea of bringing vocational high schools back into the American landscape because not everyone is suited for college.

    Our lives would be much more complicated without the wonderful plumbers, auto mechanics, electricians, HVAC technicians, janitors, maintenance men/women, and machine operators out there.
  7. by   Aurora77
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who believes that. Part of me thinks that the push to go all BSN is related to the stigma that community colleges have. I became an LPN then RN at the same school where my brother got his automotive degree. HVAC was being taught just down the hall from my nursing classroom. That puts nurses on the same level as mechanics, who aren't considered professionals here. More's the pity; my auto mechanic brother is far more intelligent than I am.
  8. by   nerdtonurse?
    My sister the doctor, (insert eye roll here), is the first to say it's not a profession; she says anyone who gets paid by the hour is a blue collar worker.

    I, also, agree the the college angle isn't the best way to learn nursing. My aunt was a nurse in NY back in the 50's -- 3 years with the nuns, where the 3rd year students essentially ran the place at night with just a few oldtimers around for guidance. Nursing "theory" is nuts; people don't sit in church saying, "I have self care deficit" or "Roger's nursing theory says my energy field is out of whack" -- they say they have COPD, or asthma, or cancer. Orem is the only theorist that makes any sense to me at all.

    I think if we want to save nursing and not become the Walmart greeters of healthcare, we need to know the patho, know the science behind what's going on with our patients. Having just went thru both a LPN and a RN program within the last 5 years, we got a lot of "theory" and not much reality.
  9. by   linearthinker
    I think it should be/could be, but is not at present.
  10. by   xtxrn

    Wikipedia has a better definition- but my computer is loading things really weirdly tonight... Nursing is included in that- and it also goes into more detail about governing bodies, testing, etc.
  11. by   Havin' A Party!
    Nursing is a profession.

    The manner of compensation has nothing to do with it... be it a salary or a per-hour rate.
  12. by   caroladybelle
    There are numerous threads on this topic, and the arguments for and against rarely change.