Professionalism in the Context of Health and Nursing

Introduction

The role played by the nursing profession cannot be overemphasized. For instance, acute critical care nurses are very instrumental in the provision of healthcare services which are often demanding both physically and psychologically (Robichaux & Parsons, 2009). They employ a lot of their intellectual capacity in providing the much-needed services. It is against this backdrop that the nursing profession requires a high degree of resilience, understanding and shrewdness at all times.

Nonetheless, it may not be easy to understand the practical roles of a nursing professional if we do not qualitatively explore the criteria for quality services which they are supposed to offer within a safe, ethical and legal context in an individual and inter-professional framework. It is equally important to identify the mechanisms by which health and nursing professionals’ behaviors are monitored, and how they may contribute to quality improvement mechanisms.

If the aforementioned criteria are well established, then it will be possible to appreciate the nursing profession at large and what it means to act professionally within the context of healthcare and the nursing profession.

To begin with, it is imperative to acknowledge that any profession requires some kind of special knowledge that is gained through a long-term learning process in academic institutions (Debnath, 2010). On the same note, for safe and effective practice in nursing, a strong educational background is necessary. Moreover, it is imperative to note that the broad definition of professionalism in health care is necessary before narrowing it down to professionalism in the context of nursing.

Professionalism in health care embodies the much-needed competency as well as expertise in delivering the best health care services to deserving clients. These two attributes are just the basic definition framework as far as professionalism in health care is concerned. However, a more specific definition of professionalism in health care would entail the ability of a health care organization to not only be competent and excel in its expertise but also commit itself to integrity and excellence in service delivery. The responsibility to serve and leave a positive impact is enshrined within professionalism in health care.

There is usually a board-certified educational program that all nurses ought to go through so that they can be able to meet the minimum criteria for effective practice. Indeed, this must be a very demanding pre-condition. Besides, members of a nursing community are often expected to stick to certain fundamental rules and codes of ethics. There are specific and general standards of ethics which each and every member of the nursing fraternity is supposed to adhere to.

In addition, the very members are supposed to play active roles in professional organisations that are related to nursing (Ramakrishnan, 2007). These organizations basically aim at supporting and advancing the knowledge background of individual nurses so that they can be effective and efficient in their practice.

When this criterion is embodied in the nursing profession, it accounts for professionalism in nursing. Hence, professionalism in nursing context can be defined as the general conduct, objectives or unique features that accompanies or mark a nursing professional in the course of discharging duties (Ramakrishnan, 2007).

Provision of Quality Care

one of the most important nursing ethic for quality care and practice is that the needs of individuals should be respected by nurses. Besides, the choices made by individuals regarding their health care should also be accepted by nurses as the basics of their operation. Another equally important and specific ethic is that nurses should promote and adhere to offer high quality care to all and sundry.

Provision of quality care and service within a safe, ethical and legal context as far as nursing profession is concerned is of great importance to patients as well as family members. A professionally recognized nursing fraternity has the responsibility of not just conceptualizing the fundamental principles of nursing practice but also stretching these ideals to practice in imparting patients and other hospital visitors positively (Marquis & uston, 2009).

One of the fundamental codes of practice which has been prominent in nursing practice is the need for nurses to collaborate or work as a cohesive team for the purpose of improving care delivered to patients (Robichaux & Parsons, 2009). Nursing as a profession is challenging and collaboration is one of the most viable tools of overcoming hurdles in patient care. Although most nurses may be quite familiar with this cardinal code of ethics, its application still remains a matter of concern.

In addition, a healthy workplace can be sustained if professional nurses familiarized themselves with the implication of this code of ethics. This will also improve both personal and inter-professional output. In some instances, certain nursing community have merely incorporated this principle of ethics and has proved to be inadequate as far as the provision of quality care and service is concerned. As a result of this missing link, this principle of ethics has been addressed in different forums. Any principle of ethical care in nursing practice and profession is paramount because it offers some respect to the unique nature of individuals, systems and structures within healthcare organisations and the life’s changing nature (Finkelman & Kenner, 2010).

Moreover, nursing professionalism which is based on an ethic of care towards the provision of quality care and service will be in a position to deliver compassion especially to the community of ailing patients. This is over and above nursing collaboration because it stretches to an individual level whereby each and every single nursing professional is obliged to be compassionate enough in the line of their duty.

Moreover, being held accountable on the outcome of nursing practice is one important element of professionalism in nursing. An accountable nursing professional will also be in a position to be trustworthy, another momentous component of professionalism which cannot be ignored or underestimated if quality care and service are provided to patients and other members within a healthcare establishment (Martin et al., 2007).

In retrospect, there are certain old age nursing practices which may have been largely ignored or underperformed with respect to patient care. One such ideal is the need to treat with confidentiality all issues pertaining to patients. Certain criteria of information regarding patients cannot be divulged to the third party unless with the consent of the patient. It is disgusting to bring into understanding that there are nursing practices which have been subconsciously adopted in the contemporary world that is violating safe practice.

In the event that patients come to the realization of such unethical nursing practices, it will undoubtedly derail quality care and service owing to the fact the trust between the patient and the nurse will be eroded forthwith (Cox & Hill, 2010). Adhering to confidentiality in nursing profession is a key ingredient in developing a workplace which is not only healthy but also productive and conducive as well. .

Although these ideals are necessary in supporting and ensuring a well sustained environment, they are not adequate bearing in mind that the process of providing quality care and service is broad, versatile and equally demanding. Hence, an ethical environment is that which will give assurance to the nursing professionals that they can perform as per the expectations (Robichaux & Parsons, 2009). Achieving such an environment requires the full application of the preset standards of practice.

Injuries which are induced at work as well as illnesses which nurses may experience while in line of duty are all critical when addressing the safety of nurses at work place. This is because the safety of nurses affects both the latter and patients. Therefore, it is important for nurses to avoid work injuries if they will have to deliver their services in the most professional manner possible.

Some of the disorders or injuries which nurses may undergo include musculoskeletal, mental health changes, infections or even heart related diseases. One way of avoiding work related injuries, infections or disorders is by adopting the normal working hours as much as possible. Overtime and working in shifts should be minimised as much as possible.

Avoiding long working hours which may lead to long term exposure to injuries and hazardous chemicals is necessary. Besides, new work schedules need to be designed as a coping strategy in the event of long working hours. Relevant breaks during working hours are necessary. Finally, nurses can take a nap during working hours in addition to counselling therapies whenever deemed necessary.

Monitoring mechanisms

Improving the quality of nursing performance is usually the main objective nursing professionalism. Hence, it is crucial to identify some of the most viable mechanisms which can be used to monitor behaviour or performance of the nursing fraternity. These mechanisms will also act as the benchmarks for evaluating the level of professionalism of the nurses in question.

To begin with, qualitative documentation of the outcomes is necessary. In other words, all the activities of a practicing nurse should be documented by being put on record so as to facilitate the process of evaluation at the end of a given period of time (Duffield, Forbes & Fallon et al., 2005). For instance, specific information related to the patients and which has been recorded by the nurse in addition to the patient experience should be put on record.

Besides, a detailed report on the improvement process of a patient or group of patients is relevant if this mechanism is to work. Program initiatives which are still new should be described including a summary assessment of the annual report for the nurse.

It should be understood that when the activities of the practicing nurse are documented and then summarized on an annual basis, it will be possible to monitor the behaviour of the nurse since a clear and overall picture of the professional level of the nurse will definitely float on the surface (Chang & Daly, 2008). This mechanism of documenting the delivery outcomes of the nursing is considered to be the first most important strep of monitoring not just the behaviour but also professionalism of nurses.

At the present time, there may be no standard approaches which are in use as far the monitoring mechanisms of nurses is concerned. However, organisations which have multiple Advanced Practicing Nursing can still make use of reporting systems on the performance of nurses based on a variety of reporting pools. This implies such healthcare organizations should not make use of a single source of data for monitoring nurses. Rather, comparable data should be used.

Another instrumental mechanism which can be used to measure behaviour and of course performance in nursing profession is the application if the quality improvement mechanism which is already in place (Robichaux & Parsons, 2009). This mechanism can indeed assist in tracking down performance at the clinical level.

One of the merits of using this mechanism is that minimal costs are involved (cost effective) bearing in mind that a mechanism used for evaluation is not to be invented but is already established. This will go a long way in improving the quality of healthcare delivery by nurses since it can be conducted at regular intervals and any necessary adjustments on the performance of nurses made at the right time (Jansen & Zwygart-Stauffacher, 2010).

In addition, this mechanism can improve the quality of nursing care and services is through the possibility of obtaining data relating to the behaviour of the nurse both in terms of magnitude and how consistent the process of improving performance is on track. This mechanism can be used to evaluate outcome performance as well as assessing needs both within the clinical setting and nursing community at large.

Another important mechanism which can be instituted in performance monitoring of nurses is differentiation (Duffield, Forbes & Fallon et al., 2005). The instruments used for measurement should be precise enough to detect the likely differences among practicing nurses. This mechanism attempts to appreciate professional differences in nurse and seek out ways and means of utilizing these differences in the best way possible.

For example, although all nurses who work within a healthcare establishment are perceived to be qualified, each one of them has unique features and abilities which if well utilized can lead to improved nursing care and service. The application of this mechanism is based on interest and ability of each nursing professional.

Ultimately, nurses can also improve on the quality of care and service by expanding their roles. For instance, team members within the nursing fraternity can participate in social work, education, entrepreneurship and also as clinical specialists.

Conclusion

In summing up, it is imperative to underscore a few points. Firstly, nursing profession is one of the most demanding and challenging career paths in the field of healthcare provision. Professionalism in nursing goes beyond just acquiring the right academic papers. There are certain fundamental codes of ethics which act as vital ingredients in shaping up nursing profession. For instance, trustworthy developed through the habit of honesty is crucial in nursing professionalism.

Monitoring the performance and behaviour of nurses on a regular basis has been found to be one of the ways of improving nursing care and services to the patient community. Although several mechanisms for behavioural check exist, the use of Quality Improvement mechanism has the most benefits because it is cost effective.

References

Chang, E. and Daly, J. (2008). Transitions in Nursing: Preparing for Professional Practice Marrickville : Elsevier.

Cox, C. and Hill, M. (2010). Professional Issues in Primary Care Nursing, Lowa: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Debnath, R. (2010). Professional Skills in Nursing: A Guide for the Common Foundation Programme, London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Duffield, C., Forbes, J., Fallon, A. et al. (2005). Nursing skill mix and nursing time: The roles of registered nurses and clinical nurse specialists, Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 23(2):14-20.

Finkelman, W.A. and Kenner, C. (2010). Professional Nursing Concepts: Competencies for Quality Leadership, New York: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Jansen, P.M and Zwygart-Stauffacher, M. (2010). Advanced Practice Nursing: Core Concepts for Professional Role Development, New York: Springer publishing Company Ltd, LLC.

Martin, S. et al. (2007). Transforming Care at the bedside, Journal of Nursing administration, 37: 444-451.

Marquis, L.B. and Huston, J.C. (2009). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application, PA: Kluwer Health.

Ramakrishnan (2007). Basics in Biochemistry for Professional Nursing, New Delhi: B.I Publications Pvt Ltd.

Robichaux, C. and Parsons, M.L. (2009). An Ethical Framework for Developing and Sustaining a Healthy Workplace, Critical Care Nurse Quarterly, 32(3):199-207.

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