Nursing as a Profession
From the dawn of time nursing has existed, in one form or another. Because healthcare varies between cultures, nurses have historically taken on many different roles: a folk healer, a healer with religious ties, and that of a servant (Ellis & Hartley, 2012). Because of these various roles, some may not realize, or accept, that nursing has evolved into a much needed profession. This essay will discuss what a profession is, the criteria needed to be present in order to be considered a profession, and the reasons why nursing should be considered a profession.
Criteria of a Profession
In order to understand why I consider nursing a profession, you must first ...view middle of the document...
Nurses are the go-between of the doctor and the patient, and their main concern is the patient’s well-being. For example, it has been shown that adequate staffing of nurses affects the outcome of patient’s hospitalizations. Dr. Jack Needleman and colleagues found that “insufficient nurse staffing was related to higher patient mortality rates” (as cited in American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 2011). This statistic, along with similar findings in several other research studies, proves that nurses do indeed provide an essential service to society.
Has a Theoretical Body of Knowledge.
The learning of theories and how to apply those theories to practice is the basis of this criterion. This involves being able to identify the problem and which solutions, based on learned theories, may work for that problem (Clarke & Winch, 2004). The processes used in this problem identification differ for each occupation. Nurses, who gain their knowledge of theories during their formal schooling, have a process that is unique to the nursing field. It is called the nursing process. This process is “an interactive, problem-solving process and a systemic and individualized way to achieve the outcomes of nursing care” (Stuart, p. 151, 2009). The nursing process includes assessment of the situation, diagnosis of the problem, planning which of the learned theories will be effective for the problem, implementing the steps of the chosen theory, and evaluation of aforementioned application in order to verify that identified goals were met. This process is unique to the nursing field and would not be something that a lay person, one without any medical training, would be able to accomplish. The theoretical knowledge needed to effectively use the nursing process is gained only after attending specialized formal training. This knowledge, coupled with the distinct process used for utilization of theoretical knowledge, is proof that nursing meets this criterion of a profession.
Requires Relative Independence in Decision Making in Practice.
This criterion relates to the nursing autonomy. According to Skår, “autonomy means having the authority to make decisions and freedom to act in accordance with one’s professional knowledge base” (p. 1, 2010). Many may assume that nursing lacks autonomy and that nurses are only there to do the physician’s bidding. While that may have been the case at some point in time, this is simply not true about modern nursing. Today, more and more nursing researchers are working to provide education and interventions that nurses can do autonomously, without a physician’s order. It is true that nurses are unable to make medical decisions in relation to patient care, but there are many non-medical options available for nurses to choose from. For instance, according to Black and Hawks, if you are a nurse and your patient is having a hard time breathing one of the interventions available to you is to place the patient in...