Perceptualizing the Profession
In the health care field, there is ongoing debate on subjects such as health care reform, ethical dilemmas, and ideals regarding nursing as a profession. Those debating the issue are generally passionate about their stance on regarded topics. Some teeter or straddle the fence, while others have no opinion or just do not care. The view of nurses in the workforce has fueled discussions on how nursing is categorized in terms of perception: Is nursing an occupation or is it a profession? In the Oxford Dictionary (US) online (2014), the word profession is defined as “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and formal ...view middle of the document...
The development and application of nursing theories, nursing research, and evidence-based practice, coupled with an emphasis on accountability has launched nursing in the lime-light as a profession that is recognized, respected, and valued (Wu, 2013). This paper takes a look at four key qualities (criteria) of a profession, and will explain how nursing meets these measures that delineate it as a profession.
Guided by a Code of Ethics
A code of ethics guides standardizes the relationship between a professional and his or her client (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p.18). Codes of ethics are the principles shared among members of a group and include moral duty and obligation. This is a definitive guide which elevates the profession of nursing to more than an occupation. Using the legal standards of the profession as a minimal guideline, these ethical codes are generally stricter (nonnegotiable) and higher. The International Council of Nurses, first adopted a code of ethics in 1953 (International Council of Nurses [ICN], n.d.) followed by the American Nurses Association in 1985 (American Nurses Association [ANA], n.d.). Additionally, ANA adopted two other documents which further elucidate and internalize professional nursing practice and values: Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice and Nursing Social Policy Statement (ANA, n.d.). Progressively congruent with foundational framework, both have made changes as new advances have been made and the role of the professional nurse expanded to meet new standards. State Boards of Nursing also regulate the nursing practice in conjunction with state laws. These regulating boards are the governing body responsible for protecting the public by ensuring that standards are met and nurses are
competent in their practice (National Council of State Boards of Nursing [NCSBN] 2014).
Application of Knowledge and Practice
“A profession applies its body of knowledge in practical service that are vital to human welfare…” (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 18). Taking a historical tour through the tenets of nursing, it is easy to see the application of knowledge and practical servitude for improving care and promoting health and well-being that are fundamental today. Nightingales’ ground-breaking impact on professional nursing practice is evident as professional nurses continue to be involved in social, environmental, and global issues as they relate to health care. Issues of patient safety, health promotions, disease prevention, and patient-centered outcomes are at the core of nursing practice. Working independently and with other healthcare professions nurses today are leaders, educators, researchers, and lobbyist; all which are vital to human welfare.
Functions with Autonomy
A key component of a profession involves initiating regulating guidelines (i.e. policies), monitoring its constituents and those practicing within its specialty. Through this power and independent of other professions, its...