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Profession Of Nursing Essay

2166 words - 9 pages

The nursing profession has metamorphosed from a primitive unorganised practice in ancient times, to the mostly autonomous, essential profession that is prevalent in countries worldwide. It has undergone tremendous changes in response to societal needs and due to its dynamic component, will continue to change ever so often in order to effectively produce service to society (Berman, Snyder, Kozier & Erb, 2008). The importance of nursing stemmed from the traditional female role as mother, wife, sister and daughter. As Berman et al (2008) posit, in these offices, females were naturally expected to be caregivers and nurturers both for their family members and the individuals in the community. The ...view middle of the document...

According to Flexner (1915) and Pavalko (1971), a profession should be organised internally where members control their profession. This speaks to autonomy which is the state in which one is self-governed and operates independently without the total control of others (Ellis & Hartley, 2004). Another criterion that these theorists stipulated should be embodied by a profession is that it should have relevance to social value and be rooted in altruism which in simpler terms means that it should give service to society (Ellis & Hartley, 2004). A body of knowledge is also another important criterion that qualifies nursing as a profession as according to Flexner(1915) ‘a practice of a profession is based on knowledge’ whereas Pavalko(1971) agrees that ‘a profession has a training or educational period.’ With these criteria as the basis for qualification as a profession, one can say nursing in these times has effectively met these standards and is well deserving of the professional status held today (Ellis & Hartley, 2004). Needless to say, the path taken to achieve a professional stance was a laborious one and would not have been remotely possible without the formulation of local agencies that pioneered and steered nursing onto the path of professionalism (Swaby, 2005). These bodies, namely the Nurse’s Association of Jamaica and the Nursing Council of Jamaica, have been instrumental in this process and still work assiduously to ensure that how nursing is practiced in Jamaica is on par with the standards and practices in the rest of the world (Swaby, 2005). These agencies achieve these objectives by ensuring and improving nurses’ autonomy, the body of knowledge associated with the practice, and also ensuring that nurses give optimal service to society.

The Nurses’ Association and the Nursing Council which are agencies predominantly governed by nurses, are themselves autonomous entities that have ensured that the nursing profession in Jamaica has become autonomous. The Nurses’ Council achieves this objective by primarily outlining what a nurse’s scope of practice is (Swaby, 2005). Anderson (n.d.) adequately describes a nurse’s scope of practice as ‘actions and procedures that are permitted by law for a particular profession. It is restricted by law based on experience and qualification’. Bearing this in mind, the level of autonomy one achieves is therefore also related to the level of practice or qualification that a nurse has attained whether they are a midwife, a sister or a nursing practitioner. Under the Nurses and Midwives Act (1966) implemented by these organizations, these positions entail varying degrees of freedom in their practice, based on experience and educational qualifications. Autonomy in nursing is also achieved by the collaborative efforts of the Nursing Council and the Nursing Association in stipulating the educational preparations nurses receive (Swaby 2005). This is evidenced by courses such as the Nursing Process and...

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