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Professionalism in nursing and how it relates to quality care and service within a safe, ethical and legal context, in an individual and an interprofessional framework. Essay Example

  • Category:
    Nursing
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    3
  • Words:
    1770

Professionalism in Nursing

Introduction

Professionalism can be defined as the qualities or conducts that characterise a particular profession or a professional person. It entails conforming to the ethical and technical standards of a particular profession (Cornett, 2006). Professionalism in the context of health and human service delivery is epitomised through clinical service. The key goal of the nursing profession is to provide safe, ethical and competent nursing care to patients. Professions providing health care service demonstrate their professionalism through their knowledge, behaviours and attitude which reflects on the underlying principles, standards and regulations in the nursing practice. As professionals, nurses are charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing standards of practice through a continuous acquisition, application and evaluation of the relevant knowledge, skills, judgment and attitudes. The nursing practice often incorporates interactions between the nurse, the patient, the health environment and the community in general. The issues that face nursing professionals particularly those working within the health care environments are complex, they revolve around the both ethical and legal aspects of the nursing practice (Cornett, 2006). This essay seek to examine professionalism in nursing and how it relates to quality care and service with a safe legal and ethical context and in an individual and an interpersonal framework.

Professionalism in nursing practice

According to
Crigger & Godfrey (2010), there are two key paradigms that professionalism can be viewed they include; the sociological and the psychological paradigms. The sociological paradigm is the dominant paradigm in professionalism, using this paradigm, a profession is set within a culture of professions. In this culture of professions members have similar beliefs of how they are expected to practice their profession. The profession gives the person a sense of belonging or membership to a professional and as a result members of this profession are expected to adhere to certain codes, obligations, responsibilities and duties. This is expected from them by the profession and the society at large. On the other hand, the psychological paradigm of professionalism asserts that a professional is not just an outward behaviour rather it is more importantly a personal moral virtue or quality that enables a professional to make the right choices on the basis of their good character. Based on this paradigm, a professional does the right thing even when no one is looking (Martin, 1999). In totality, a profession is viewed as a person who strives to do a good work and be a good person (Crigger & Godfrey, 2010).

Professionalism in the nursing practice involves the use of clinical judgment to provide quality care and service in order to enable patients to recover, maintain and improve their health or cope with health issues. Basically, professionalism in the nursing practice is a commitment to care, compassion, ethical values and the continuous of others and self. It also involves responsibility, accountability and a demonstration of one‘s ability to collaborate and become flexible (Girard, Linton & Besner, 2005). Moreover, professionalism in the nursing practice incorporates a set of skills, attitudes, values, attributes and behaviours which are codified in the codes of ethics. Some of the core values in the nursing profession include; empathy, dedication, compassion, integrity, respect, self improvement and accountability.

Within a safe legal and ethical context providing quality care and service entails a number of things. Foremost, it means that nursing professionals practice based on the set standards of practice. For example in Australia, the standards for nursing professional practice are set by the Australia Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC). Secondly, providing quality care and service requires that nursing professionals should have a solid knowledge base on their practice. They should have theoretical, clinical and practical knowledge and they should be able to apply this knowledge in the practice. Moreover, providing quality service and require requires nursing professionals to demonstrate respect and passion for their profession. This implies that nurses should put their clients or patient first, they should also be advocates for quality practice and quality care. Furthermore, they should articulate issues revolving around their practice and support the development of the nursing profession. Providing quality care and services requires health care professions to develop collaborative partnerships in their professional environment. They should act as mentors and support systems for their colleagues, patients and nursing students. In addition, providing quality care and services requires nurses to provide personalised care to their patients and clients (Joel & Kelly, 2003).

Mechanisms of promoting and enforcing professionalism

Developing the appropriate set of practice standards is one of the mechanisms that can be used to guide, monitor and control the behaviours of health service professions. Practice standards can help to guide health care professions to provide safe, ethical and competent nursing care to patients. Following the development of these practice standards, performance management is another mechanism that can be used to monitor and control the behaviours of health service professions. Performance management is a human resource practise that entails the implementation of strategies that are aimed at ensuring the goals of a department are being realised continuously in an efficient manner. Performance management is useful since it motivates and helps to improve the performance of professionals in their different area of practise and it also facilitates the actualisation of the set strategic goals of a department. Some of the commonly used practises of performance management include; setting of performance targets, appraisal and monitoring of performance, training and rewarding (Daniels 2004). Moreover, professional development, training and education are other mechanism that can be used, since they motivate and provide professionals with a platform of learning and making improvements in their professional practise. When implemented effectively, professional development, training and education facilitates lifelong learning, advancement of skills and attainment of knowledge thus promoting more effective patient care and the attainment of both organizational and personal goals (Van Lerberghe et al, 2002).

Professionals and Quality Improvement Mechanisms

One of the most important roles played by professionals in the context of human and health care service delivery is the management of quality improvement mechanisms. Whether in their role as individuals working within organizations or as professional bodies, professionals help to establish regulations, standards and guidelines for quality improvement in the delivery of health services. The 2003 World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package titled Quality Improvement for Mental Health demonstrates how mental health professionals in various countries have contributed to the regulation and standardization of mental health service provision. One such quality mechanism is professional accreditation. By 1993 in Chile, there were only 10 therapeutic communities for the rehabilitation of people with drug dependence (WHO 2003). The Ministry of Health in Chile formed a working group of mental health professionals which drafted a set of regulations for such facilities. After the draft was discussed and passed through parliament, the process of accreditation of therapeutic communities was undertaken and a scheme established where social health insurance paid the accredited communities for one month of payment (WHO 2003). In this instance, mental health professionals drew on their knowledge and experience to standardise the accreditation process and provide best-practice- based regulations for the provision of mental health services.

Health care professionals may also contribute to quality improvement through the documentation of quality issues and evidence based evaluation of current practices and innovations which in turn provides guidelines for the rest of the health sector. Nembhard and Edmonson (2006) demonstrate how the Institute of Medicine’s publications To Err is Human (1999) and Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001) highlighted, documented and quantified quality problems in health care which had been identified by the National Roundtable on Health Care Quality in 1998. These included medical errors such as the overuse of antibiotics and the underutilization of beta blockers following heart attacks. By documenting these quality problems, the Institute of Medicine demonstrated the systemic nature of such problems and as a result, health care organizations have responded through continuous review of the quality of care they provide through quality improvements such as reduction in triage times (Nembhard and Edmonson 2006). In this instance, professionals provide leadership in quality management through endorsement or criticism of innovations for quality management by other health service providers based on the credibility of their evidence-based recommendations (Horbar 1999). Nembhard and Edmonson (2006) have also established that professional status greatly enhances the likelihood of health service personnel to engage in quality improvement as this status gives them a higher level of psychological safety.

Conclusion

Professions providing health care service demonstrate their professionalism through their knowledge, behaviours and attitude which reflects on the underlying principles, standards and regulations in the nursing practice. There are two key paradigms that professionalism can be viewed they include; the sociological and the psychological paradigms. Based on these paradigms, a profession is viewed as a person who strives to do a good work and be a good person (Crigger & Godfrey, 2010). Generally, professionalism in the nursing practice is a commitment to care, compassion, ethical values and the continuous of others and self. It also entails responsibility, accountability and a demonstration of one‘s ability to collaborate and become flexible (Girard, Linton & Besner, 2005). Some of the mechanisms that can be used to guide, control and monitors professions include; the development of appropriate standards of practices, performance management and professional development and training. Health care professionals can also contribute to quality improvement through the documentation of quality issues and evidence based evaluation of current practices and innovations.

References

Cornett, B. (2006). A principal calling: professionalism and health care services. Journal of communication disorders Volume 39, Issues 4, July-August 2006, pp. 301-309.

Crigger, N. & Godfrey, N. (2010). The making of the nurse professionals: A Transformational, ethical approach. Massachusetts: Jones & Barlett Publishers.

Daniels, A. (2004). Performance Management: Changing Behavior that Drives Organizational Effectiveness.,
Performance Management publications.

Girard, F., Linton, N. & Besner, J. (2005). Professional practice in nursing: A framework, Nursing leadership. On-Line exclusive.

Horbar, D. (1999). The Vermont Oxford Network: Evidence-based quality improvement for neonatology.Pediatrics, 103, 350–359.

Joel, L. & Kelly, L. (2003). Kelly’s dimensions of professional nursing. New York: Mc Graw- Hill professional.

Martin, M. (1999). Explaining wrongdoing in professions. Journal of social philosophy, 30 (2), 236-250.

Nembhard, M. & Edmonson, C. (2006). Making it safe: The effects of leader inclusiveness and professional status on psychological safety and improvement efforts in health care teams. Journal of Organizational Behaviour 27 (4), 941–966.

Van Lerberghe et al, (2002). When staff is underpaid: dealing with the individual coping strategies of health personnel. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Vol 80, no.7, pp.581-584.

World Health Organization (WHO) 2003. Quality Improvement for Mental Health (Mental health policy and service guidance package). Geneva: WHO.