How Important Is Professionalism For A Nurse?

How Important Is Professionalism For A Nurse

How Important Is Professionalism For A Nurse?

Nursing has come a long way in the 145 years since Florence Nightingale established nursing as a patient. The fundamentals of patient care, cleanliness and management that are taught in nursing school are her legacy. Her greatest legacy to the nursing profession is the fact that she elevated nursing to a higher degree of professionalism and respectability than ever before. What defines professionalism in the nursing field?

Why Professionalism Is Required In Nursing

Professional nurses are expected to demonstrate a certain degree of altruism, special attainment, self sacrifice and the right attitude in their dealings. Each nurse needs to understand the responsibilities and concerns that are integral to the nursing profession. Working with a team of health care professionals to provide care for patients in need requires a discipline and internal and external composure that stays steady throughout the day.

The core values that are expected and appreciated in nurses are responsibility, honesty, integrity, belief in human dignity, patient equality, and the desire to prevent and alleviate suffering. A nurse’s professionalism is judged based on personal behaviors, appearance, presentation, and so on.

1. Non-Biased Care For Patients

Health care centers see patients of all ages, sizes, colors, races and backgrounds. A nurse’s job is to see a patient as a patient, and not focus on attributes that might be personally disliked. Showing any kind of prejudice will hinder the quality of patient care, not to speak of earning a bad reputation for the hospital. A truly professional nurse would ensure high standard, non-biased care for all patients.

2. Integrity

Maintaining medical records for patients also needs a level of professionalism. Medical records are meant to be confidential and a loose-mouthed nurse can inadvertently release this confidential data to the wrong party. Nurses are trusted with a great deal of delicate information. The medical field counts on a nurse’s professionalism and integrity to keep confidential matters confidential.

3. Respect For Patients

Patients can be difficult to deal with, but a professional nurse cannot lose his or her temper. It’s imperative to remember that the patient is in the hospital to receive care. No one likes being the receiver, subject to the moods and generosity of the giver. This makes some patients cranky. A professional nurse is prepared to treat all patients with the utmost respect and dignity, no matter what the provocation.

4. Attitude

A nurse with a terrible attitude can make things difficult for patients and staff alike. Those who behave like this are usually looking for attention. By sucking others into their own drama, these attention-seeking people try to control their environment. The nursing profession aims to help others than to focus on individual problems. A professional nurse will work through his or her bad attitude and will try to work well with others.

5. Appearance

People will always judge you by your appearance; there’s no way of getting around this. When it comes to nursing, a nurse’s appearance can either instill confidence in the patient, or total mistrust. Imagine a nurse who walks in with unwashed or ungroomed hair, chewed-on nails, wrinkly and shabby scrubs and junk jewelry? Such a nurse would lose respect in the patient’s eyes. If you look sloppy, the other staff, patients and their families will see you as lazy, unorganized and worse of all, uncaring.

6. Willingness To Help Others

A professional nurse understands that everyone needs help now and then. In fact, the nurse himself or herself will be in need of help at times. Willingness to help is a part of a nurse’s professional attitude that is most appreciated. A nurse who is willing to help other nurses, patients and patient’s families is seen as someone who can be trusted, and who has a core of goodness. Goodness and caring are the ground values on which Florence Nightingale built the nursing profession. Nurses in the previous century were mostly nuns who were used to charitable thinking and doings.

7. Team Work

A professional nurse is a team worker; he or she understands that the entire hospital’s staff has to work as a team to ensure ultimate patient care. Hospitals are in the business of making money, and a nurse who does not work well with the team can cause expensive hassles. In order to be a good team worker, a nurse must eliminate any ‘self first’ attitude. For example, when a hospital is full to capacity and all hands are required, a nurse cannot insist on taking vacation time off. This is the kind of attitude that shows a nurse is a team worker and not a selfish individual.

8. Honesty

Too much cannot be said about this vital quality in a real nursing professional. Honesty comes into place in several areas. For example, if a nurse has over medicated a patient by mistake and an error occurs, honesty in time will help save the patient. Most people choose to lie and avoid taking the responsibility but this only leads to cumulative issues.

9. Responsibility

A nurse has to take up a great deal of responsibility and must prove worthy of it. Everything from responsible patient care, to monitoring delicate equipment to which the patient is hooked, to responsible handling of medication is the nurse’s lot. A professional nurse is one who takes this responsibility very seriously and understands the consequences of mistakes, accidental or otherwise.


Last but not the least, let’s talk about discipline. When taking care of patients round the clock, it would be so easy to just sit back in a chair and doze off. But if a nurse were to do that, medication schedules and patient monitoring will not happen on time, which means patient care is compromised. Again, nurses have to report for duty at the hour specified and relieve the previous nurse. Lack of discipline in any area will bring everything from mild annoyance, to downright chaos in a hospital.

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