Professionalism In Nursing Practice University Of Alberta, Nurs 406 Essay

1265 words - 6 pages

Professionalism in Nursing Practice

It is widely agreed that there is a strong link between professional competency and the

quality of care provided to patients and clients. As stated by Dhai “at the heart of being a good

health care practitioner, lies professionalism, setting the standard of what a patient should

expect” (Dhai p 174). A “professional” can be defined as an individual who is expected to

demonstration competent and skilful behaviors in agreement with their profession. In regards

to the health industry, a “professional” is defined as, “any person who has completed a course

of study in a field of health. This person is usually licensed by a government agency or certified

by a professional agency” (Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 2009). Being professional can

therefore be interpreted as behaving in a manner which supports the effective operation of the


Taking into account the meanings of being a professional, the word “professionalism” can

be described as the behavior, goals, or qualities that characterize a professional person. The

construction of the outline for professionalism in nursing began back in the 19th century with

Florence Nightingale who once said that "Nursing is an art, and, if it is to be made an art,

requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's

work"(Nightingale, 1868). Nightingale wanted nursing to be seen as a profession that required

discipline, ongoing learning, and values, while being compassionate and having selfless

commitment for effective patient care. She set a high standard for herself and therefore set a

high standard for the future of nursing. Florence Nightingale was an advocate of health,

self-healing and healthy environments. During her time, she emphasized that the infectious

diseases were burdened by issues related to hygiene. This focus of nursing has now shifted to

the lifestyle choices of the chronically ill patients of today (Donnelly, 2010). The standards

created by Florence Nightingale have helped to transform the professionalism of the nursing

ranks into the professional people we know today.

"Professionalism", in the context for Registered Nurses creates the expectation that all

Registered Nurses conduct themselves in manner of professionalism that pertain them to a set

of codes and practices, as well as personal and professional values. Maintaining the trust of the

general public and confidentiality are key components that must be included in the

aforementioned values (Collage and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, 2015). The

Registered Nurse profession has the responsibility of providing competent care and safety for

individuals, groups and communities by adhering to these codes of practice specifically. These

codes of ethical practices are targeted specifically toward nursing but other health care

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