Nursing as a Profession - A New Perspective.
Historically, only medicine, law and the ministry were accepted as profession.
1. Criteria of a profession. Genevieve and Roy Bixler first wrote about the status of nursing as a profession in 1945. These criteria include the following.
2. The services provided are vital to humanity and the welfare of the society. Nursing is the service that is essential to the wellbeing of the people and to the society. Nursing promotes, maintains and restores the health of individuals, groups and communities. Assisting others to attain the highest level of wellness is the goal of nursing. Caring, meaning nurturing and helping others are the basic components of professional nursing.
3. There is a special body of knowledge that is continually enlarged through research. In the past, nursing was based on principles borrowed from the physical and social sciences and other disciplines. Today there is a unique body of knowledge to nursing
4. The services involve intellectual activities. Individual responsibilities (accountability) are a strong feature. Nursing has developed and refined its own unique approach to practice. Nursing process is a cognitive activity that requires both critical and creative thinking and serves as the basis of providing nursing care. Individual accountability in nursing has become the hallmark of practice. Accountability is ' is being answerable to some one for something one has done' Through legal opinion and court cases, society has demonstrated that nurses are individually responsible for their actions as well as for those of personnel under their supervision.
5. Practitioners are educated in institution of higher learning. There are basic nursing program, baccalaureate program, masters and Doctoral program in nursing
6. Practitioners are relatively independent and control their own policies and activities. (Autonomy). Autonomy or control over one's practice is another controversial area for nursing. Although many nursing actions are independent, most nurses are employed in hospitals where authority resides in one's position.
7. Practitioners are motivated by service (altruism) and considered their work an important component of their lives. Nurses are dedicated to the ideal of service to others, which is known as altruism
8. There is a Code of Ethics to guide the decisions and conduct of practitioners. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has established Code of Nursing Ethics through which standards of practice are established, promoted and refined.
9. There is an organisation (Association) that encourages and supports high standards of practice. Nursing has a number of professional associations that were formed to promote the improvement of the profession. Foremost among these, is the TNAI (The Trained Nurses Association of India).
The purposes of TNAI are to foster high standards of nursing practice, promote professional and educational advancement of nurses and promote the welfare of the nurses.