The Concept of Professionalism in Nursing

Professionalism in Nursing

The concept of professionalism can be understood better after defining the word profession. Behrend et al. (2006) defines Profession as a chosen, paid, occupation that requires a prolonged training and formal qualification. Therefore, professionals are individuals who are expected to display proficient and skillful behaviors in accordance with their profession. Professionalism, therefore, means the act of behaving in a manner that is expected by a given profession. In nursing, professionalism was started by Florence Nightingale who established nursing profession fundamentals such as patient care, cleanliness and management, and set higher degree of professionalism and respectability standards (Behrend et al., 2006).

According to Nightingale, nursing profession embodies many core values inherent in those who pursue nursing careers. The core values are consistent globally and they include honesty, responsibility, and belief in human dignity, desire to prevent and alleviate sufferings, equality for all patients and pursuit of new knowledge among many others. Ideally, nurses choose nursing profession to help others and improve their quality of life in their practice. Professionalism of a nurse is judged by the way he/she behaves when interacting with patients or any person in the line of practice (Hoffart and Woods, 2009).

Non-biased care for patients

Non-biased care refers to the practice of providing healthcare services to patients without any prejudice or favoritism based on factors such as age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. In the context of professionalism in nursing, non-biased care is a crucial aspect of providing high-quality, compassionate care to all patients.

As nurses, it is important to recognize and address any biases that we may have, and to strive to provide care that is fair and equal to all patients. This includes actively listening to and valuing the perspectives and experiences of each patient, and being sensitive to their cultural and personal needs. By providing non-biased care, nurses can help to create a positive and respectful environment for all patients, and ensure that they receive the best possible care (Hoffart and Woods, 2009).


Ferguson-Pare et al. (2008) argues that, integrity is an essential aspect of professionalism in nursing. It refers to a nurse’s commitment to acting with honesty and integrity in all their professional actions. This includes adhering to ethical standards, being transparent about their actions, and being accountable for their decisions and behavior.

In the healthcare field, integrity is especially important because nurses are entrusted with the care and well-being of others. Patients rely on nurses to act with integrity and honesty in order to trust that they are receiving the best care possible. A nurse with integrity will follow all professional guidelines and protocols, and they will not cut corners or compromise their values in order to save time or resources. They will also be honest with their patients and colleagues, and they will take responsibility for their actions if something goes wrong. In short, integrity is essential for building trust and maintaining professional credibility in the nursing field.


Attitude is an important aspect of professionalism in nursing. It refers to an individual’s overall disposition and demeanor towards their work, colleagues, and patients. A positive attitude is essential for creating a healthy and supportive work environment, as well as providing high quality care to patients. On the other hand, a negative attitude can have negative impacts on patient care and overall work culture.

Professionalism in nursing also involves maintaining a respectful and compassionate attitude towards patients. This means treating patients with dignity and understanding, regardless of their circumstances or personal beliefs. It also involves maintaining a high level of confidentiality and respect for patient privacy. A professional nurse should be able to handle difficult or emotional situations with calm and compassion, and should always be willing to listen to and address patient concerns. Overall, a positive attitude is crucial for maintaining professionalism and providing the best possible care to patients.


Responsibility is a crucial aspect of professionalism in nursing. It involves being accountable for one’s actions and taking ownership of the care provided to patients. Nurses must be reliable and dependable, ensuring that they meet the needs of their patients and adhere to ethical and legal standards of practice. This requires them to be organized, punctual, and well-prepared for each shift. They must also be able to work independently and make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients.

In addition to being responsible for the care they provide, nurses also have a responsibility to maintain their professional knowledge and skills. This includes staying up-to-date on the latest research and best practices, and continuing their education to improve their clinical knowledge and expertise. They must also be willing to seek guidance and support from colleagues and mentors when needed. By being responsible and demonstrating professionalism in their work, nurses can provide the highest quality of care to their patients and uphold the integrity of the nursing profession.


Honesty is a crucial aspect of professionalism in nursing. It means being truthful and transparent in all aspects of practice, including interactions with patients, colleagues, and supervisors. This includes honesty in reporting patient care, medication administration, and any errors or mistakes that may occur. Honesty is essential in building trust and credibility with patients, colleagues, and the healthcare team, and it is an integral part of upholding ethical standards in the nursing profession.

Moreover, honesty is essential in maintaining the integrity of the healthcare system and ensuring patient safety. Patients rely on nurses to provide accurate and honest information about their health and treatment, and nurses have a duty to provide this information with honesty and integrity. Honesty also plays a role in maintaining trust within the healthcare team, as it allows for open communication and collaboration, which are essential for providing high-quality care to patients. In short, honesty is a critical component of professionalism in nursing and is essential for building trust, maintaining integrity, and providing the highest quality care to patients.


Teamwork is an essential component of professionalism in nursing. It involves the ability to work effectively with others to achieve common goals and objectives. This includes the ability to collaborate, communicate, and share knowledge and resources with others. When nurses work together as a team, they can provide better care to their patients and improve patient outcomes.

In the healthcare field, teamwork is especially important because it helps to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. Nurses must be able to work closely with other healthcare professionals, including doctors, therapists, and social workers, to coordinate patient care and address any concerns or issues that may arise. By working together as a team, nurses can provide more comprehensive and effective care to their patients, which is a key aspect of professionalism in the nursing profession (Ferguson-Pare et al., 2008).


Appearance plays a significant role in the field of nursing, as it reflects a professional image and can impact patient trust and confidence. This includes everything from personal grooming and hygiene to the way a nurse presents themselves in uniform. A clean, well-groomed nurse conveys a sense of competency and attentiveness, while a disheveled or unkempt appearance may lead to concerns about the quality of care being provided.

In addition, appearance can also communicate respect and empathy towards patients. For example, wearing a uniform that is clean and free of stains or tears shows that the nurse values the patient’s wellbeing and is taking care to provide them with the best possible care. Similarly, wearing appropriate footwear and avoiding strong perfumes or colognes can help ensure the comfort and safety of patients with sensitivities. Overall, a professional appearance is crucial for building trust and rapport with patients, and is a vital aspect of nursing practice.

Willingness to help others

Willingness to help others is a crucial aspect of professionalism in nursing. This means being open and willing to offer assistance and support to patients, colleagues, and others in the healthcare team. It involves being proactive in addressing the needs of others, rather than waiting for someone else to take the lead or for a request to be made. This can involve offering emotional support to patients and their families, providing physical assistance with tasks, or simply being present and available to listen and provide guidance.

In addition to being an important part of caring for patients, willingness to help others is also essential for building and maintaining effective working relationships with colleagues. It involves being a team player and being willing to lend a helping hand when needed, whether it be completing tasks, offering guidance, or providing support. This not only helps to create a positive and collaborative work environment, but it also helps to ensure that patient care is delivered efficiently and effectively. Ultimately, willingness to help others is an essential component of professionalism in nursing, as it reflects a commitment to serving the needs of others and making a positive impact in the lives of patients and colleagues.


Discipline in the field of nursing refers to the adherence to rules, regulations, and standards that guide the behavior and actions of nurses. This includes following guidelines set by regulatory bodies, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, as well as following hospital policies and procedures. Discipline in nursing also involves adhering to ethical principles and maintaining confidentiality in the care of patients.

Professionalism in nursing is closely related to discipline. It involves demonstrating a high level of competence, integrity, and commitment to providing quality care to patients. This includes maintaining professionalism in all interactions with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals. Professionalism in nursing also involves continuous learning and development, as well as actively participating in quality improvement initiatives. Discipline and professionalism go hand in hand in the nursing profession, as they ensure that nurses are able to provide the best possible care to their patients (Hoffart and Woods, 2009).


Behrend, B., Finch, D., Emerick, C., and Scoble, K. (2006). Articulating Professional Nursing Practice Behaviors. Journal of Nursing Administration 16(2): 20-24.

Ferguson-Pare, M., Closson,T., and Tully, S. (2008). Nursing Best Practice Guidelines: A Gift for Advancing Professional Practice in Every Environment. Hospital Quarterly 5(3): 66-68.

Hoffart, N., and Woods,C. Q. (2009). Elements of a Nursing Professional Practice Model. Journal of Professional Nursing 12(6): 354-64.