Professionalism in Nursing: Core Values


A profession is defined as an occupation that an individual chooses voluntarily, which requires adequate training and formal qualification for success to be attained. Therefore, professionals are supposed to act and behave with respect to the requirements of the nursing profession without compromise. Nursing is a field in which professionalism is required. Professional nurses are required to possess certain ideal values that include responsibility, selflessness, honesty, and sacrifice in order provide patient care of high quality (Crigger and Godfrey, 2004, p.35). They are expected to fully understand the requirements and responsibilities that are associated with the nursing profession. The nursing profession involves working together with other health care professionals to provide quality health care to patients. Therefore, it is important for nurses to develop a sense of discipline and personal composure to enable them deal with the challenges of the profession adequately. The core values that the nursing profession instills in all nurses include honesty, belief in patient equality and human dignity, integrity, a sense of responsibility and an in-depth desire to reduce suffering (Finkelman and Kenner, 2004, p.22). In the nursing field, aspects such as appearance, behaviors, and attitude determine the level of professionalism.

Core values of professionalism in nursing


Attitude is a very import value in nursing. A bad or negative attitude makes it difficult for a nurse to value providing quality care to patients. In addition, it makes it hard for other staff members and the patients to deal with the nurse. The nursing profession focuses on solving the problems of others and not personal problems. Professionalism in nursing demands a positive attitude that makes patients comfortable and feel appreciated. It is important for nurses to work on their attitudes in order to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in accordance with their profession’s requirements (Finkelman and Kenner, 2004, p.25).


Appearance is yet another measure of professionalism in nurses. Appearance determines how a person is perceived or judged by other people. The appearance of a nurse either instills confidence in a patient or creates mistrust and doubt (Finkelman and Kenner, 2004, p.26). Nurses should earn respect from patients and other people by working on their appearance. A good appearance radiates qualities of someone who is caring, organized and committed to their work. These qualities are vital in the nursing profession.

Honesty and responsibility

A nurse should be honest and responsible. Honesty involves being open with patients and telling them the truth regarding their health status. Sometimes some nurses conceal information from patients in order to save them from self-pity that may have negative consequences on their health. Honesty means following the code of ethics and conduct of the nursing profession. On the other hand, responsibility is important in the fields of patient care, patient monitoring, and medication (Kozier, 2008, p.35). A professional nurse ensures that he or she adheres to the medication schedule and monitors the patient as expected to avoid compromising the quality of patient care.


Teamwork is an important aspect of professionalism in nursing. It ensures that a hospital offers patient care of high quality. Teamwork is important because each member of staff in a hospital has a responsibility that contributes towards provision of high quality patient care (Kozier, 2008, p.37). Therefore, it is important for all staff members to work as a team. This requires a lot of sacrifice such as change of attitude and work schedule in order to take care of other people. This is a core aspect of professionalism that should be exhibited by all nurses.

Integrity and non-biasness

The nursing profession requires integrity and non-biasness in dealing with patients. Nurses take care of people from different races, religions, ages, and social classes. A nurse should treat everyone under his or her care as a patient despite their social, religious, or racial orientation (Kozier et al, 2001, p.63). In addition, a nurse should avoid focusing on personal attributes that may result in biasness. Integrity is important in practices such as maintaining the health information and records of patients. Medical information regarding the health of patients should be confidential. Professionalism in nursing prohibits nurses from revealing any medical information of a patient without their permission or consent (Kozier et al, 2001, p.65). Some medical information is very delicate and revealing it could cause unnecessary calamities. Professionalism in nursing ensures that nurses keep medical information confidential and do not reveal it under any circumstance.


Respect in a nurse is an important value because dealing with some patients is very difficult. Patients have different personalities and knowledge on how to deal with them is vital. A professional nurse is kind and patient with patients even though they are difficult to deal with (Nagelkerk, 2005, p.77). Despite the fact that a patient may be rude, moody, or disrespectful, a professional nurse overlooks that and takes care of the patient with great respect and dignity.

How to promote professionalism

Professionalism in nursing can be promoted by organizing training sessions for staff members, developing guidelines on best practice as a foundation for quality patient care, and incorporating technology in the nursing profession to facilitate delivery of patient care (Pender, and Pender, 2006, p.52). Nurses need training on how to develop the core values that define professionalism in nursing. Developing a mentoring program for new nurses and encouraging teamwork is important in order to foster professionalism. In addition, conducting research is vital in order to deal with questions that arise from the practice. The management should ensure that the work environment encourages professionalism (Chitty, 2005, p.34). For example, the work environment should be stress free because stress is an obstacle to acting professionally. Stressed nurses are exhausted, moody, and unmotivated. This causes a negative attitude that prevents them from acting professionally.


In any career, professionalism is an important aspect. Professionals adhere to certain values, rules, and regulations that govern their professions. Nurses too have rules and value that they adhere to foster professionalism in their practice. Professional nurses are required to display a significant sense or responsibility, altruism, sacrifice and special attainment in their work. Nurses are expected to fully understand the requirements and responsibilities that are associated with the nursing profession. In the nursing field, aspects such as appearance, behaviors, and presentation determine the level of professionalism. The core values of professionalism in nursing include honesty, dignity, and respect for human life, willingness to offer help, responsibility, lack of bias in taking care of patients and integrity. Professionalism in nursing can be promoted by training nurses on ways to incorporate the core values of professionalism in their practice, encouraging teamwork, incorporating technology in the nursing practice, and creating a work environment that encourages professionalism.


Chitty, K. (2005). Professional Nursing: Concepts and Challenges. New York: Elsevier Saunders.

Crigger, N., and Godfrey, N. (2004). The Making of Nurse Professionals. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Finkelman, A., and Kenner, C. (2013). Professional Nursing concepts: Competencies for Quality Leadership. New York: Jones & Byartlett Publishers.

Kozier, B. (2008). Fundamentals of Nursing: Concepts Process and Practice. New York: Pearson Education.

Kozier, B., Erb, G., and Blais, K. (2001). Professional Nursing Practice: Concepts and Perspectives. New York: Adison-Wesley.

Nagelkerk, J. (2005). Leadership and Nursing Care Management. New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Pender, N., and Pender, A. (2006). Health Promotion in Nursing Practice. New York: Appleton & Lange.

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