Measuring Nurse Competency: What Is Professionalism in Nursing?

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post, focused on professionalism in nursing, concludes our series on measuring nurse competency.

Professionalism is a hallmark of great nursing, and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) offers that it is embodied by someone “who exhibits compassion, empathy, and commitment—and who dedicates their career to personal growth and professional development.” By definition, the American Nurses Association (ANA) states that “professionalism in nursing means providing top-quality care to patients, while also upholding the values of accountability, respect, and integrity.”

What Creates Professionalism in Nursing

USAHS offers that there are six practice components that come together to create professionalism in nursing. These behaviors demonstrate that a nurse is committed to providing care that is safe, upholds high quality standards, and includes evidence-based practice. These clinicians are putting patients first, communicating effectively, practicing collegial collaboration, staying positive in terms of attitude, upholding research-based standards of care, and always remaining accountable.

Measuring Nurse Professionalism as a Competency

The American Nurses Association believes that “the public has a right to expect registered nurses to demonstrate professional competence throughout their careers. ANA believes the registered nurse is individually responsible and accountable for maintaining professional competence. The ANA further states that it is the nursing profession’s responsibility to shape and guide any process for assuring nurse competence. Regulatory agencies define minimal standards for regulation of practice to protect the public. The employer is responsible and accountable to provide an environment conducive to competent practice. Assurance of competence is the shared responsibility of the profession, individual nurses, professional organizations, credentialing and certification entities, regulatory agencies, employers, and other key stakeholders.” UC Davis Health supports “professional nursing practice through the peer review process, through which we examine and ensure adherence to the highest standards of our profession.”

The Benefits of Professionalism in Nursing

According to the USAHS, “When nurses demonstrate professionalism, patients receive better care, team communication is improved, there is increased accountability among all practitioners, and the overall clinical environment is more positive.” UC Davis Health advocates an environment committed to professionalism like their own, where professionalism “informs the conduct, aims, and qualities that characterize the profession of nursing and an individual in the profession.” They add that professionalism includes such attributes as a respect for “knowledge, a spirit of inquiry, accountability, autonomy, advocacy, innovation and vision, collegiality and collaboration, and ethics and values.”

Our blog series about measuring nurse competency was developed to bring attention to all the attributes that contribute to truly competent nursing. In addition to this post, others address:

  • Patient care
  • Medical clinical knowledge
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • Interpersonal Communication

Ensure Competency of Nursing Staff at Every Level

In today’s value-based healthcare environment, it is more important than ever to be able to eliminate guesswork and develop a standard level of competency across the entire organization. Utilizing proven data to identify development needs is not just a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. Learn more about HealthStream solutions for nurse competency management.

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