Professionalism in Nursing: What It Is and Why It Matters

professionalism in nursing
Written by
Miranda Kay, RN
May 8, 2023

Professionalism is essential in nursing, and it starts with the individual nurse. 

Nursing is a career that requires a high level of professionalism. Professionalism in nursing means being respectful, empathetic, and reliable and going the extra mile to ensure patients receive the best care possible. It also means adhering to the highest standards of ethical and legal conduct, taking responsibility for one's actions, and being a role model to other nurses. It is of utmost importance that nurses maintain a professional attitude and demeanor at all times, as this plays a crucial role in providing quality patient care. 

What is Professionalism in Nursing? 

Professionalism in nursing refers to the care nurses provide to their patients while consistently demonstrating the values that characterize them, such as respect, integrity, and accountability.

Nursing is a profession that requires a lot of trust from patients. A patient completely surrenders to the care of nurses. When they are excellent nurses, the results tend to be positive since their professionalism helps make nursing a worthy and noble profession.

A great nurse is someone who knows how to show the values that define empathy and professionalism, and regardless of their level within the nursing career, consistently demonstrates to patients the commitment they have. This is why professionalism is essential.

Sometimes some stories may cause the impression that nurses have too much control in their hands, and patients may be afraid to put their trust and their lives or their health in the hands of nurses. Thanks to the professionalism demonstrated by most nurses nationwide, this is only sometimes the case. Still, nursing is nationally regarded as the noblest profession to perform.

Nursing Professional Development

Even when working under pressure, nurses must respond in the same professional manner. This involves obtaining the skills to answer correctly in three critical areas:

  1. Cognitive area. Continuous learning is essential in nursing professionalism. This means ongoing education and training in as many areas as possible, which is reflected in the nurses' work. This learning helps improve the way nurses act and make critical decisions in the most effective way possible.
  2. Attitude area. Generally, the attitudinal area of professionalism is on par with what is expected in healthcare organizations and on par with global goals. In general, it refers to attitudes and ideas that help advance and sustain the work of nurses, with the understanding that nurses need to give up a lot for the wellness of their patients.
  3. Psychomotor area. Throughout the nursing profession, there are many obligations that nurses can fulfill through their discipline and learning, generally referring to improving in the psychomotor areas and constantly learning about them.

Through these three areas, nurses are committed to higher nursing goals and can better develop the professionalism that distinguishes them.

How to Achieve More in My Nursing Career?

There are many ways to achieve more. For example, demonstrating professionalism in the nursing career through:

  • TeamworkThis requires nurses to stick to working with other healthcare professionals, with the motto of always thinking of their patients first, which tremendously demonstrates their commitment and professionalism to nursing.
  • Advocate for patients. In general, not being afraid to support patients in public and always look out for their welfare within the multidisciplinary team. Thinking of patients as they would think of themselves is a rare and precious quality.
  • Effective communication. For excellent teamwork, it is necessary to know how to communicate ideas in the best possible way so that any receiver can understand, comprehend and apply what needs to be done.
  • A positive attitude. Nothing reflects professionalism more than maintaining a positive attitude. Nurses can do this by being confident in the care they provide and the team they have.
  • Maintain integrity and principles. No matter how many complex cases they handle, nurses must stand by their principles and do their best to demonstrate their commitment to their profession.
  • Deliver the best possible care. By providing impeccable care, nurses can demonstrate that they are genuinely committed to their patients and the institution they represent.

All of these aspects are equally important, and there are a few skills to enhance them little by little, so it is recommended that any training or course taken should have these four core principles:

  • The ability to resolve conflicts will improve communication, therefore improving teamwork.
  • Adaptability in any situation. For example, when working PRN shifts, nurses must adapt to any situation the employer needs.
  • Critical thinking. One of the most essential skills is knowing how to respond to situations as best and quickly as possible. By improving critical thinking, nurses can improve their ability to respond to conflicts or daily situations in their jobs.
  • Leadership. Leadership, as knowing how to lead and delegate, is one of the most essential skills to improve the care nurses provide.

Through professionalism, nurses can improve and be remembered positively wherever they work, hence the importance of constantly improving these skills. Objectively, nursing is already considered a noble profession, given its professional implications. Still, nurses can devote more time to enhancing others' views of the profession, especially in these problematic post-pandemic times. In that case, they can restore hope and faith in medicine and get better care opportunities for the general population.

Miranda Kay, RN
Blog published on:
May 8, 2023

Miranda is a Registered Nurse, Medical Fact Checker, and Publishing Editor at Nursa. Her work has been featured in publications including the American Nurses Association (ANA), Healthcare IT Outcomes, International Living, and more.

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