Professionalism in nursing is an ongoing, dynamic component of the occupation. It means to show commitment to the profession and to strive for the best outcomes.

Topic: You are quickly moving from a “student nurse” role to a “new graduate nurse” role. What have you learned throughout your nursing program about professionalism- what characteristics create professionalism How do you practice professionalism in a healthcare workplace What are some things to avoid in order to maintain professionalism Use the course readings and the nursing literature to support your views.

Discussion: Professionalism in nursing is an ongoing, dynamic component of the occupation. It means to show commitment to the profession and to strive for the best outcomes. Throughout my journey through nursing school I have seen that professionalism is something that does not just come naturally, and that nurses must continually strive to not only reach a level of professionalism but also to maintain it. One study identified the basic characteristics of nursing professionalism as “educational preparation, publication, research, participation in a professional organization, community service, competence and continuing education, code for nurses, theory and autonomy” (Celik & Hisar, 2012, p. 180-181). To further define these, another study identified the components of professionalism in nursing practice as adherence to code for nurses, community service orientation, continuing education/competence, research (development, use, and evaluation), self-regulation/autonomy, professional organization participation, and publication/communication (Rhodes, Schutt, Langham, & Bilotta, 2012). As student nurses we are near completion of the basic educational preparation, we have done research, some of us are members of professional organizations, we have studied extensively the code for nurses, and we have practiced communication in several scenarios, however these are just small steps towards our professional development.
In the healthcare workplace, especially as new graduate nurses, it is likely easy to get caught up in the demands of patient-care, and as a result some characteristics of professionalism are ignored. In the transition from student nurse to new graduate nurse, the development of professionalism is just one of the many tasks we will face. Some new graduate nurses believed that professionalism in the workplace is influenced by “belonging, knowing, and affirmation” (Kelly & Courts, 2007, p. 334). In order to practice professionalism in the workplace, it is important for new graduate nurses to seek experiences that allow them to belong to a larger group, to increase their knowledge base, and to accomplish tasks and goals that result in affirmation from peers, leaders, and patients. A better understanding amongst expert staff of the experiences of new graduate nurses can also aid in the development of professionalism within the industry. Providing guidance, support, and acceptance of new graduates is one way for these staff members to practice their own professionalism. If everyone remembers that they once went through the same thing and offers appropriate support, the result are much more positive and may include increased job satisfaction and retention of nursing staff.
Keeping a positive attitude and avoiding negativity is another important factor. New graduate nurses have reported that they have seen or witnessed horizontal violence within the workplace. They have also reported “less than ideal communication with physicians and other interdisciplinary team members” (Dyess & Sherman, 2009, p. 407). To remain professional, nurses on both the novice and expert ends of the continuum must avoid poor communication practices, refrain from involvement in horizontal violence, and be prepared to respond to such situations. This along with all of the other components of professionalism must be continually practiced and improved upon in order to be the best, most professional nurses possible.


 

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