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How nursing meets professional characteristics
Professional
Characteristic
How Nursing Meets the Criteria or Characteristic
Authority to control its
own work
Nurses work for physicians or health care agencies unless
engaged in private advanced nursing practice.
Exclusive body of
specialized
knowledge
Nursing pulls from a variety of fields to provide holistic nursing care.
Nursing research generates new scientific knowledge for practice.
Extensive period of
formal education and
training
Currently, there are three levels of education entry into
professional nursing practice: associate degree, diploma, and
baccalaureate nursing -programs.
Specialized competence
Nurses demonstrate assessment skills; possess an understanding
of pharmacology, various branches of physical sciences, patho-
physiology, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures; and have skills
to manage the technical equipment used in client care. Many
nurses hold certification in specialized areas of nursing practice.
Control over work
performance
Nurses make independent judgments based on client situations
and area of practice. Some nurses work in organizations that use
shared governance-and quality magement frameworks.
Service to society
Nursing care focuses on the client system. Caring for others
serves as a major theme for most nursing theories. Nurses receive
middle-income pay for taking care of others.
Self-regulation
Nurses. abide by the Nurse Practice Act of the state in which they
practice. Individual. ~ate boards of nursing regulate nursing
practice.
Credentialing systems to
certify competence
Nurses take the National Certification Licensing Exam developed
by nurses which measures minimum competence for safe. nursing
practice. Nurses obtain certification in specialized areas of nursing
practice from nurse specialty organizations. Some states require
continuing education for continued-licensure.
Legal reinforcement of
professional standards
All nurses are held liable for their actions based on what the usual
and prudent nurse would do in a given client care situation.
Individual state boards of nursing have the power to restrict the
practice of nursing within a state.
Ethical practice
The American Nurses' Association has published The Nurses'
Code of Ethics, last updated in 1985.
Intrinsic rewards
Professional nursing organizations offer networking opportunities
Shared governance and clinical practice partnership models
enhance collegiality among staff nurses and nursing
administration.
Public acceptance
Many nurses derive a deep personal satisfaction from making a
difference in the lives of clients and families one person at a time.
Some nurses view the profession as an opportunity to practice
religious beliefs on a daily basis.
Creation of a collegial
subculture
Nursing was ranked in the top 10 most respected professions
(ANA; 2001).

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