Professionalism in nursing means much more than simply wearing a uniform and speaking politely. It encompasses a set of values that are critical to elevating the quality of patient care while improving the methods, standards, and judgments that guide nursing practices every day.
In nursing, professionalism reflects the act of providing quality patient care while honoring the values of respect, advocacy, and responsibility. Professionalism also extends to a nurse’s ability to communicate clearly and self-reflect on behaviors and actions, always striving for both professional and personal development.
A nurse’s professionalism is judged based on personal behaviours, appearance, presentation, and so on. There are various qualities that all nursing professionals should seek to emulate in order to maintain professionalism, including positive attitude, compassionate patient interactions, professional responsibility, teamwork and integrity.
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
1. PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
A key element of professionalism in any career is the appropriate handling of responsibility. In healthcare, where people’s well-being and lives are in your hands, professionalism in nursing is paramount. A nurse has to care for patients, monitor their vital signs using delicate equipment and handle medication. You must take this very seriously at all times, by demonstrating an awareness of the consequences of a mistake and how to prevent them from occurring.
Teamwork is central to any healthcare career. It’s essential for nurses to maintain collaborative and co-operative relationships with everyone from fellow nurses to doctors, consultants and porters. Regardless of your personal feelings towards a colleague, you must put your patients’ well-being first and work closely and effectively with each team member.
Every nurse must maintain complete integrity throughout their career. This involves various different facets but largely has to do with a strong sense of purpose and the ability to do what is right in every situation.
4. PATIENT INTERACTIONS
Nurses are the primary point of contact for every patient that comes through the door – whether it be a large hospital or a small GP surgery. Therefore it is paramount that every nurse is capable of interacting positively and productively with each patient.
Finally, strong ethics and the ability to stick with them despite outside pressures is a huge hallmark of nurse professionalism.
Linus Paul RN,RM, Bnsc.
Nursing World Nigeria Contributor
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