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The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit: (1) to identify one major milestone in the development of nursing profession; and (2) to delineate and describe the significance of the identified milestone in the development of nursing as a profession.
Throughout the…
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Issues in Professional Nursing Practice The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit to identify one major milestone in the development of nursing profession; and (2) to delineate and describe the significance of the identified milestone in the development of nursing as a profession.
Issues in Professional Nursing Practice
Throughout the history, nursing has been striving to gain a professional status and sense of autonomy. The medical education and practice were given more emphasis than nursing practice during the Renaissance period(Cherry & Jacob, 2011, 8). The nursing profession was viewed as if it was a non-existent field and a disrespectful profession.
The achievement of professional nurse autonomy is one of the major milestones that had influenced the development of nursing profession and practice. Holland (1999) defines professional nurse autonomy as the nurse perceived latitude or willingness to act as a responsible professional, independent from medical profession but interdependent to allied-health professions (p. 311).
The traditional view of professional autonomy differs among gender. It had been evident during the time of Nightingale and the Crimean War where medical professionals rejected at first the offer of Florence Nightingale to help because of gender and professional prejudices. Male has been viewed as the dominant gender and doctors were superior to the nurses, limiting suggestions and decisions made by a nurse. Physicians viewed that collaborative care was only between physicians and clients and nurses are treated like servantsthan a powerful healer. But urgency of the circumstances had led the physician to accept the help of Florence Nightingale and 38 other nurses. Through Nightingale’s help, it was not only professional recognition of female nurses that has been achieved but the formal nursing education programs, reorganization, and advancement of professional nursing (Cherry & Jacob, 2011, 10). In addition, nurses were often oppressed and salaries were not sufficient during the 1970s thus, nurses strive for economic stability and to the methods and ideals of science to gain professional recognition, equality, status, and rightful acceptance not only from the medical professions but also from the general public.
Nursing has evolved from an indistinct, gender-biased, and physician-dependent profession to a notable field with independent nurse practitioners, both male and female in the health care arena. The struggles made by Nightingale addressed the need for nursing to be established as a profession, free from gender discrimination and separate from the medical field.
The professional accountability achieved by nurses has developed accountability, empowerment and commitment in nursing. At times, some nurses often confused accountability with responsibility. Accountability in nursing implies a nurse disclosure to self, client, employing institution, and profession leading to sense of empowerment (Holland, 1999, 312). Accountability in the nursing profession has broadened the scope of practice and legal responsibilites of nurses.
Physicians also see the benefits of the professional autonomy of nurses and the clinical decisions made out of mutual and interdependent relations with the nurse. Quality care has been achieved, ease of task, and better patient health outcome. Also, the general public has viewed the nurses as equally important with the physician in the provision of quality care.
Taking into the account the struggles made by Nightingale and the nurses of previous times to achieve professional autonomy and recognition, nurses of the contemporary nursing era must value their struggles by practicing and preserving professional autonomy at all times. Nurses must also adhere to the scope of nursing practice and be accountable for one’s actions for the nurses of previous times have made nurses independents from physicians and unique from all fields of health care.
Cherry, B. & Jacob, S.R. (2011). The Evolution of Professional Nursing. Contemporary Nursing: Issues, Trends, and Management (5th ed.) (p. 1-25).Missouri: Mosby, Inc.
Holland, G. (1999). Professional nurse autonomy: concept analysis and application to nursing education . Journal of Advanced Nursing 30 (2), 310-318. Read More
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