Nursing Student Professionalism Concerns

Like any students in the medical field, nursing students are held to high standards of professionalism and ethics. Although they are not yet licensed, schools expect their students to behave with the same professionalism as a licensed nurse. Additionally, while a student participates in rounds, their supervisors will demand the same professionalism. If a nursing student fails to act professionally, or a professor is concerned by their behavior, they may take the nursing student aside and discuss it with them.

Many medical schools have integrated professionalism into their official curriculum, and while it is not quite as stringent for nursing students, professionalism is still of utmost importance to their studies. If you are a nursing student facing professionalism concerns, it's critical that you tend to them sooner rather than later. Nursing school is tons of work, and it's important not to waste all of your efforts and hard work.

What Is Professionalism For Nursing Students?

In some fields, professionalism speaks to the clothes you wear. Not so, in nursing. For nursing students, professionalism points to values that elevate the quality of patient care while simultaneously striving for excellence and improvement in methods, judgments, and standards. There are many ways to define professionalism for nursing students, however, perhaps the best option is to look at the standards set forth by some of the prominent organizations.

Professionalism Standards According To National Governing Bodies

There are governing bodies for nurses around the world. Here in the United States, the American Nurses Association (ANA) is responsible for setting standards for nursing professionals across the country. Their Standards of Professional Performance details 17 standards for nurses. These standards run the gamut and cover most, if not all, aspects of a nurse's career, from ethics to communication to assessment and diagnosis. For nursing students, it's important to be familiar with all of the standards.

According to the standards, “The Standards of Professional Performance describe a competent level of behavior in the professional role, including activities related to ethics, culturally congruent practice, communication, collaboration, leadership, education, evidence-based practice and research, quality of practice, professional practice evaluation, resource utilization, and environmental health. All registered nurses are expected to engage in professional role activities, including leadership, appropriate to their education and position. Registered nurses are accountable for their professional actions to themselves, their healthcare consumers, their peers, and ultimately to society.”

Nursing students are held to these standards precisely because of their importance in the medical field. The ANA also provides a Code of Ethics for Nurses that is considered the definitive guide in the field. According to them, “The Code is particularly valuable in today's healthcare environment because it clearly and eloquently reiterates the fundamental values and commitments of the nurse (Provisions 1–3), identifies the boundaries of duty and loyalty (Provisions 4–6), and describes the duties of the nurse that extend beyond individual patient encounters (Provisions 7–9).” If you are concerned about your professionalism as a nursing student, it might be wise to review the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Performance.

What Are Some Skills That Professionalism Helps Nursing Students Develop?

Professionalism can help nursing students develop critical skills as they move into the workforce, whether they choose to work in hospitals, nursing facilities, rehab centers, or home health care. Some skills that professionalism helps hone are the following:

  • Collaboration: Working with colleagues and communicating about patient care or patient needs ensures that a workplace is efficient and patient needs are prioritized.
  • Adaptability: Adaptability develops as you adjust to new information and experiences in order. Integrating new learning or experiences allows nursing students to tweak their best practices, leading to more effective patient care and better patient outcomes.
  • Conflict Resolution: Nurses have to respond quickly and de-escalate patients or family members who are upset. The ability to quickly assess the needs of all involved and to communicate potential solutions effectively is a component of professionalism.

Why Is Professionalism Important For Nursing Students?

Often, if you've chosen nursing as your field, you care a lot about people. Nursing isn't an easy career, and it's one that requires a lot of sacrifice to even get started. Professionalism is exceedingly important in nursing because you're taking care of people in some of their most vulnerable moments. Empathy is probably a high value of yours, and it's hard when you first begin your nursing studies to navigate that boundary between empathy and professionalism. But it's a critical one to learn and to practice. Not only because it's tied to nursing standards, but also because it's part of what enables nurses to continue in their career.

Can Professionalism Concerns Impact My Studies After I Obtain My LPN Or RN?

Professionalism concerns can impact your studies after you obtain your LPN or RN, especially if you decide that you want to return to school for a more advanced nursing degree. Admission to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Nurse Practitioner (NP) degree, for example, will consider your earlier nursing studies. If there's evidence or concern about your professionalism, it could negatively impact your ability to gain admittance. It could even potentially affect your chance of receiving scholarships. With as much effort, time, and money as you've put into your nursing studies, it's important not to throw it all away.

Best Student Defense Attorney For Nursing Students

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have extensive experience assisting countless nursing students across the country who are experiencing a challenging and distressing time. If you or a loved one is a nursing student who is facing professionalism concerns at their school, don't wait for the negative consequences to begin to take effect. Reach out to the Lento Law Firm today with your questions. Too much is at stake after all of your hard work and sacrifice. The Lento Law Firm can help you navigate these challenges and fight for your medical career and future. Call today at 888.535.3686 or reach out online.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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