Nursing as a Profession Essay

1020 Words Sep 7th, 2014 5 Pages
Nursing as a Profession
Lisa Renfrow
Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Nursing as a Profession The question of whether the practice of nursing is considered a profession or an occupation is an ongoing debate, much like the ongoing debate over what defines a profession. Several scholars have outlined criteria for considering an occupation to be a profession. Given a list of scholars and their criteria for what characteristics define a profession, I have chosen the list formulated by Lucie Kelly, RN, PhD, FAAN. Although the scholars’ works seem to share similar criteria and any could be selected for comparison, I have chosen Kelly’s criteria based on her background in the nursing profession. In addition to
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66). The third characteristic of a profession, according to Kelly, is that the service involves intellectual activities and that accountability is an important feature of those activities (Chitty & Black, 2011, p. 66). I believe nursing also meets these requirements through the nursing process. In order to provide care for an individual, a nurse must assess the problem, decide on an approach (or plan of care), and implement that plan. The nurse has to be able to evaluate the outcome of those actions and adjust the plan accordingly. Autonomy is an important part of this individual responsibility. Nurses are held accountable for their individual actions by their employers, patients, and the public. Registered nurses today are required to meet strict educational standards before applying for licensure. Kelly’s fourth criterion requires practitioners to be educated in institutes of higher learning (Chitty & Black, 2011, p. 66). Associate or baccalaureate degrees are the most common education levels for registered nurses. Some diploma programs are still being run in hospitals, but their numbers are steadily declining (Chitty & Black, 2011, p. 149). Graduate degree programs focused on education, research, and advanced practice provide opportunities for nurses to progress in their careers. The fifth characteristic of a profession is the one that I think is most debated. It states that practitioners are relatively independent and regulate
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