Nursing as a Profession

1002 words 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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However, many would argue the actual performance of nursing itself still falls under the direction and control of physicians and administrators. Nursing is classically regulated in the facility in which the nurse works by their institutional policies. Also, many people feel that because a nurse must have orders from a physician, they lack autonomy (Chitty & Black, 2011, p. 66). This debate about autonomy ties in with the discussion on the third criterion. Nurses provide nursing care autonomously; they do not practice medicine. For the sixth of Kelly’s eight characteristics, the statement made is that practitioners are motivated by service and consider their work an important component of their lives (Chitty & Black, 2011, p. 66). Nursing easily meets this criterion. I believe the majority of nurses, if asked why they chose nursing, would immediately respond that they want to help others or to make a difference. I believe most nurses derive their greatest satisfaction from nursing when they know they have done a good job, helped someone in need, or simply lightened the load that burdens a patient. Nursing is one of the purest forms of altruism as I understand it. The importance of their profession in their lives is apparent; simply ask a nurse what they do. The seventh and eighth characteristics can be addressed together. The seventh characteristic is that a code of ethics exists, and the eighth


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