Craven and Hirnle, (2009) suggest that in general professions have a knowledge base and a collection of skills and values that distinguish one from another. Knowledge base, power and authority over training and education, registration, altruistic service, a code of ethics, lengthy socialisation and autonomy are the seven qualities that have been recognized as being the characteristics of a profession (McEwen & Wills, 2007).
The question of whether nursing is a profession has been an ongoing debate. The need for higher education, a specific body of knowledge, increased public interest and responsibility and internal organisation are among several standards proposed to assess nursing’s professional status. As the specific body of knowledge has become comprehensible and more accurately defined nursing roles have expanded and become more specialised. This furthered and specialised education, improved autonomy in practice, increased levels of research activity; accountability and responsibility have contributed to and enhanced the development of professionalism in nursing. (Craven & Hirnle 2009).
The conduct of nurses is guided by various codes that inform professional conduct. The New Zealand Nursing Organisation, (2007) insinuate that the crucial responsibility of professional practice is to become perceptive of how differing personal, social and cultural characteristics might impact on our relations with a client or our professional decision making. It is suggested the formation of a familiar, entrusting relationship is the token of professional practice. Nurses need to get familiar enough to the patient emotionally to begin to understand and appreciate the human nature of their difficulties; however, it is important to avoid getting too involved in the patients experience so we can continue to distinguish separate feelings.
“Nursing is a multi-faced profession, and as such, has been defined in many ways” (Craven & Hirnle, 2009, p. 38). Widespread themes are obvious, holism, caring, teaching, advocacy, supporting, promoting, maintaining and restoring health are all components of professional nursing practice regardless of numerous definitions. The profession is subject to misconception because definitions of nursing are reflected by society’s values and influences. As a profession nursing has advanced over the centuries and continues to grow as a reaction to societies needs (Craven & Hirnle, 2009). I have come to an understanding that the term ‘professional nursing practice’ is not relatively simple to define; it is a complex and widespread concept that involves caring for communities and populations of people and addressing issues with far reaching social implications, it means being socially responsible, involved, and committed to the health of all people (Craven & Hirnle, 2009).
Craven and Hirnle, (2009), suggest that nursing is caring, dedication and devotion to providing the health functional requirements of all people. This care is directed by nurses to promote, maintain and restore health in various settings within a functional framework. The New Zealand Nursing Organisation, 2001 suggest that caring is the ethical foundation of nursing and is a further involvement further outside the charge whilst on duty. Care is positioned as the characteristic that distinguishes nursing from other health related activities; however it is a complex and multidimensional concept (Jackson and Borbasi 2000).
The ethics of caring is the core of nursing in the health experience and is described as intentional acts based on the welfare of another, an affective dimension of nursing in which the nurse experiences a concern for, a mind set and moral imperative, attitudes, beliefs, values and moral basis