This I Believe

Kathreen - New Castle, Indiana
Entered on October 9, 2006

Professionalism in Nursing

A professional role model is someone that behaves and communicates in a manor that is admired and imitated by others. Nursing is a profession in which being a professional role model is very important. When I first started school, I had a basic idea of what it meant to be professional, and how it related to the role of nursing. However, it wasn’t until I actually went out into the public for clinical that I came to the realization of how vital it was for a nurse to always be a professional role model. The nurse is the member of the healthcare team that spends the most time with the public. They have the most opportunity to build trust between the public and the healthcare system. In order to build trust with an individual, a family, or the public, you must be professional in everything that you do. A nurse is a caring individual who offers support, educates, assesses for signs of worsening conditions, recognizes risk factors, and among many other things, does whatever she can do to care for others. If initial trust is not built, the public will not respect and follow your advice, or realize that your care is aimed towards making them better. He/she must be a professional role model while offering care in order for others to see the sincerity in all that he/she does. While out in the real world, I saw both good and bad role models along with good and bad professional behavior. Of all the good things that I observed, it was the bad behaviors and bad role models that I remember the most. There were instances in which I caught myself watching and listening to “professional” people and saying to myself “I would never want them to be my nurse,” or “I would never want someone like that taking care of my family.” If these are the thoughts that I had, and these are the things that I remembered, it makes me realize that there may have been others that felt the same way. Our clinical time is spent learning and building on our future. If we as students don’t have professional role models guiding us, we might find ourselves picking up and imitating these bad behaviors that in turn will add to the negative image of nursing that the public may have. It was my own negative thoughts, along with unprofessional role models that helped shape my idea of professionalism and what kind of role model I myself want to be. I don’t want to be the nurse that patients don’t want to take care of them and their families. I want to be the nurse that is trusted, that helps change lives through health promotion and care, and that shows behavior so admired that it is imitated by others.