Professionalism in Nursing

Dr. Nora Ahmad PhD is Assistant Professor College of Nursing PAAET – Kuwait. In the celebrate of Nursing Day 2009, Indonesian National Nurses Association in Kuwait (INNA-K) made a seminar for their members in the Indonesian Embassy with topic Professionalism in Nursing.

What is Professionalism? Professionalism is a calling which requires specialized knowledge and often long and extensive academic preparation.

Professional Nursing is “the process in which substantial specialized knowledge derived from the biological, physical, and behavioral sciences is applied to: the care, diagnosis, treatment, counsel and health teaching of persons who are experiencing changes in the normal health processes or who require assistance in the maintenance of health or the prevention or management of illness, injury or infirmity…” (ksbn, 2003).

What is Professional Responsibility? There are two big point they have to mention on their job regarding to the their profession :

  • They should be responsible to the area of legal practice that encompasses the duties of an attorney to act in a professional manner, obey the law, avoid conflicts of interest, and put the interests of clients ahead of their own interests.
  • All professionals in every field are expected to act in this legally binding manner in all their relationships with the client

As a Nurse, you should understand about responsibility of the Nursing Professional Body :

  • Participates in determining individual members and group responsibilities and conduct
  • Regulation of its members adherence to its own professional standards

What makes nursing a profession? There are many criteria which can makes the nursing become a profession :

  1. There is an educational background required to ensure safe and effective practice. A practitioners must complete Board certified educational programs or meet minimum criteria to be eligible for licensure.
  2. Members are accountable for continuing education and competency.
  3. Members of the profession adhere to a code of ethics.
  4. Members participate in professional organizations.
  5. members publish and communicate their knowledge and advances in the profession.
  6. Members of the profession are autonomous and self- regulating
  7. Members of the profession are involved in research They are involved in community service
  8. The profession develops, evaluates and uses theory as a basis for practice

So, the question is…. Do we meet the criteria(s) above?

Do we have the criteria of professional nursing values and behaviors?

  • Professional Values ; Altruism (humanity), Equality, Aesthetic, Freedom/Autonomy, Human, dignity, Justice and Truth.
  • Professional Behaviors ; Dependability, Professional presentation, Initiative, Empathy, Cooperation, Organization, Clinical reasoning, Supervisory process, Verbal and written Communication (Kasar, et al, 1996).

The challenges in Nursing Professionalism are :

  • Membership
  • Communication
  • Changes in Nursing practice
  • Diversity in the population
  • Lack of autonomy
  • Lack of leadership skills
  • Nature of the job : long hours, health care risks, emotional load and undervalue by society.
  • Shortage of the nurses
  • Limited opportunities

Ok, Now we talk about Professionalism and Competency.

A. Professional Competencies

Professional competency is defined as the values, attitudes and practices that competent nurses embody and may share with members of other professions. Nursing care competency is defined as relationship capabilities that nurses need to work with clients and colleagues. the knowledge and skills of practicing the discipline and competencies that encompass understanding of the broader health care system.

B. Core Values of Nursing Competency

A competent nurse’s personal and professional actions are based on a set of shared core nursing values through the understanding that nursing is a humanitarian profession based on a set of core nursing values, including Social justice, Caring, Advocacy, Respect for self and others, Collegiality, and Ethical behaviour.

C. Foundations of Nursing Competency

Develops insight through reflection, self-analysis, and self-care through the understanding that by using ongoing reflection, critical examination and evaluation of one’s professional and personal life improves nursing practice.

Nurse engages in ongoing self-directed learning with the understanding that knowledge and skills are dynamic and evolving; in order to maintain competency one must continuously update the knowledge.

Demonstrates leadership in nursing and health care through the understanding that an effective nurse is able to take a leadership role to meet client needs, improve the health care system and facilitate community problem solving.

Collaborates as part of a health care team through the understanding that successful health care depends on a team effort, and collaboration with others in a collegial team is essential for success in serving clients.

Practices within, utilizes, and contributes to the broader health care system through the understanding that professional nursing has a legally defined standard of practice .

Each nurse has the responsibility and Accountability for effective and efficient management and utilization of health care resources.

Practices relationship-centered care through the understanding that the effectiveness of nursing interventions and treatment plans depends, in part, on the attitudes, beliefs and values of clients and these are influenced both by how professionals interact with clients and by the intervention.

Communicates effectively through the understanding that effective use of therapeutic communication, to establish a caring relationship, to create a positive environment, to inform clients, and to advocate is an essential part of all interventions

Makes sound clinical judgments through the understanding that effective nursing judgment is not a single event, but concurrent and recurrent processes that include assessment (data collection, analysis and diagnosis), community and client participation in planning, implementation, treatment, ongoing evaluation, and reflection

In making practice decisions, locates, evaluates and uses the best available evidence, coupled with a deep understanding of client experience and preferences, through the understanding that there are many sources of knowledge, including research evidence, standards of care, community perspectives, practical wisdom gained from experience, which are legitimate sources of evidence for decision-making

What we can do to promote Professionalism?

  • Provide strategic directions and programs that enhance the competencies of nurses to be globally competitive.
  • Passionately sustain the quality work life and collegial interactions with and among nurses.
  • Encourage staff to develop their knowledge and skills by participating in a wide variety of both formal and informal activities.
  • Enthusiastically explore possibilities of collaboration.
  • Maintain nursing educational standards
  • Promote professional behaviour in the professional nurse
  • Practice evidence-based care delivery


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