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Professionalism & Professional Values in Nursing Practice

Professionalism and professional values lie at the core of the nursing practice ever since Florence Nightingale realized in the nineteenth century that nursing should not be just scientific comprehension and technical proficiency, but a profession established on explicit human values (Rassin, 2008).

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Professionalism and professional values not only guide and lead nurses in taking particular positions as they interact with clients and the community, but act as standards that assist them to rationalize their attitudes and actions so that they may always feel moral, ethically and legally in the right (Begley, 2010). This paper illuminates some basic tenets of professionalism and professional values in nursing practice.

Professionalism implies the conduct, objectives or qualities that typify or identify a profession or professional individual (Begley, 2010). Nurses are not only required to conform to the technical and ethical standards of the nursing practice but are also encouraged to be autonomous and self-regulating within the scope of practice (Rassin, 2008).

Nurses are also expected to get involved in community service, share healthcare information in their communities, and show willingness to serve others (LaSala & Nelson, 2005). Additionally, nurses are expected to participate in professional organizations to support and advance the profession, not to mention that members are personally held accountable for continuing education and competency (Rassin, 2008).

Professional values act as guiding principles or standards of conduct for nurses as they interact with the community and clients. The moral standards of nursing practice require nurses to conform to the rules of right conduct, such as ensuring clients receive sufficient information on which to base consent for care and related treatment, holding in confidence personal information of clients and using judgment in sharing this information, and sharing with the community the responsibility for initiating and supporting concerted effort to meet the health and social needs of the public (Shaw & Degazon, 2008).

In regard to patients with psychosocial disorders, nurses have a moral responsibility to assist this vulnerable group of the population and improve their quality of life. It is also the moral responsibility of nurses to promote an environment in which the human rights of this vulnerable group of the population, along with their values, traditions and religious orientation, are respected (Begley, 2010).

Ethical standards in nursing represent basic convictions of what is right, good or desirable to do in the pursuit of assisting clients and the community to improve the quality of life. Consequently, a nurse is not only expected to promote health and prevent disease but also to restore health and alleviate human and community suffering (Rassin, 2008).

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A nurse is also expected to show unreserved respect for human rights, including the right to life, and must be at the forefront in the preservation of life and prevention of pain and suffering among community members and clients suffering from psychosocial disorders. Additionally, nurses should demonstrate dignity and respect to the community and clients, and expect social recognition from society and clients in return. Other dispositional values include tolerance, courtesy, approachability, diligence, empathy, kindness, genuineness and patience (Begley, 2010).

On the legal front, nurses must not only practice in accordance with national and local policies and technical principles, but must practice in accordance with applicable legislation. To be on the right side of the law, nurses must have the right capability and skill to recognize and act upon any violation of law relating to their nursing practice or code of practice (Begley, 2010).

Reference List

Begley, A.M. (2010). On being a good nurse: Reflections on the past and preparing for the future. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 16(6), 525-532.

LaSala, K.B., & Nelson, J. (2005). What contributes to professionalism? MEDSURG Nursing, 14(1), 63-67.

Rassin, M. (2008). Nurses’ professional and personal values. Nursing Ethics, 15(5), 614-630.

Shaw, H.K., & Degazon, C. (2008). Integrating the core professional values of nursing: A profession, not just a career. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 15(1), 44-50.

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