Professional Identity and Professional Nursing
Discuss about the Interprofessional Clinical Placement.
The study elaborates a clear discussion on professional identity and its importance in nursing profession taking reference of an ABC news article “Just a nurse” written by Caitlin Brassington a Registered Nurse of Queensland. The study details an account understanding professional identity and aspects of the nursing profession. Further, professional aspects of Caitlin are analysed to clearly demonstrate her professional identity as a registered nurse referring her article. Lastly, the study involves a short personal reflection on professional identity in nursing referring Caitlin’s article. The examples from the professional nursing code of conduct, nursing values and nursing ethics are considered in the study to support following response to the question.
“Analysing, accepting and supporting Caitlin Brassington’s perception about professional identity in nursing profession by accepting her viewpoint in the article “Just a nurse” written by Caitlin Brassington”.
According to Hensel & Laux (2014) study professional identity is self-perception, self-concept and self-belief based on once own attributes, education, values, motivations and experiences. Professional identity is a collaboration of professional learning with personal perception. Maranon & Pera (2015) indicated that professional identity is something that keeps on developing lifetime because it is based on once perception, values, profession and experience. Further, Beddoe (2013) also indicated that nursing professional identity is integral to the science and art of nursing where core values transform as self-evident as a professional learn, grow and gain experience.
According to Larson et al. (2013), the first and foremost aspect that support professional identity is nursing education where nurses are provided with learning opportunities to understand their core values and develop as a professional as per their perception. For example – Nursing education provided to all the nurses is similar but their professional hand or working varies from each other because the impact of core values on learning varies from person to person. This variation is determined and defined as personal identity in nursing. Further, Cowin et al. (2013) indicated that work values and environment is another aspect that supports professional identity because nursing is a practical profession where nurses work in a specific workplace and develop self-concept as per the provided workplace scenario. Nursing profession provides an opportunity of independent thinking based on knowledge and practice. Therefore, workplace values and environment helps to develop this independent thinking that reflects in professional identity of a nurse. Lastly, the third aspect of nursing described by Beddoe (2013) is the opportunity to practice reflectively and ethically in nursing profession helps to support professional identity. As per professional code of conduct, nurses have complete freedom to practice reflectively with their ethical limitation. Hence, this code of conduct support in developing a professional identity.
Discerning or Refuting Professional Aspects of a Nurse’s Role
The open letter of Caitlin Brassington positively demonstrates her to be a complete professional nurse holding a respectable professional identity. The aspects from an open letter that demonstrate her professional identity are her powerful self-reflection on being a nurse followed by her education and experience completely supports her professional identity. Further, her perception of considering a respectful attitude towards her profession that didn’t allow her to accept the title of being ‘Just a nurse’ shows her dignified professional identity.
The corner store associate of Caitlin addressed her as ‘She had never seen me in uniform before and said she didn't realise I was "just a nurse"’ (Am I just a nurse?, 2017). This disrespectful behaviour was not an acceptable phenomenon for Caitlin and as a response, she wrote an article on social media describing her requirement, importance and respect of being a nurse in her own perception indicates an honourable professional identity. Hoeve, Jansen & Roodbol (2014) indicated that social media is a great platform that professional can use to connect with people regarding public relations and their work professions as well. Therefore, Caitlin using social media to express her feelings was completely accepted by other people showing positive response respecting her perception.
In open letter, Caitlin reflected on her professional work that she does being a registered nurse. Caitlin statements like ‘I have helped babies into the world, many of whom needed assistance to take their first breath, and yet I am just a nurse’ and ‘I can manage a cardiac arrest in a newborn, a child or an adult, and yet I am just a nurse’ etc. (Am I just a nurse?, 2017) indicate that she holds a good self-reflection on her practice, values, attitude and perception as a professional. She completely understands the importance of a nurse in the medical profession where nurse works from giving life to someone or helping someone in the end stage of their life. Johnson et al. (2012) indicated that self-reflection is a very important nursing conduct that helps to develop and maintain nursing quality standards. Therefore, this aspect of self-reflection indicates that Caitlin holds a dignified and respectful professional identity.
Further, statements of Caitlin like ‘I can educate patients, carers, junior nurses and junior doctors on disease states, prognoses and treatment plans, and yet I am just a nurse’ and ‘I have been a lecturer in a school of medicine, teaching medical students how to perform a systematic physical examination of a patient, and yet I am just a nurse’ (Am I just a nurse?, 2017) indicates that she is an educated and experienced professional RN. According to Hood et al. (2014) studies, nursing education helps to develop competency, confidence, knowledge and intelligence towards once own profession. An educated professional is a collaboration of integrity, diversity, ethical practice, holism and excellence in the culture that are an essential requirement of a professional identity. Hence, Caitlin description about her education and experience indeed supports her professional identity. Caitlin is an educated nurse having a complete knowledge and experience about her profession. This education and experience helped her to develop a respectful attitude towards her profession. Hence, this education didn’t allow her to accept the disrespecting attitude of her colleague towards her profession.
Another aspect of Caitlin’s open letter that demonstrates her professional identity is her respectful attitude towards her profession. Larson et al. (2013) indicated that professional identity is an outcome of personal perception one develops towards their profession. In the present case situation, Caitlin was tired, angry and frustrated because of the work but still, she was not ready to accept the disrespectful attitude of her colleague towards her profession. Hence, Caitlin strong and respectful personal perception about her profession clearly supports her professional identity in an optimistic manner.
The detailed study on Caitlin’s open letter clearly demonstrates that she holds a positive and dignified professional identity as a nursing professional. As per study on professional identity and nursing aspects it is clearly understood that professional identity is not a single trait rather it is an outcome of nursing aspects like education, experience, values, practices etc. by analysing the open letter of Caitlin it is been noticed that Caitlin carries certain exceptional nursing aspects that completely demonstrate her professional identity to be a positive, dignified and respectful one.
Caitlin’s education, experience, self-reflection and respectful attitude towards her profession clearly demonstrate her positive and dignified professional identity as a professional Registered Nurse. Even in the situation of anger and frustration towards her work, she didn't accept the disrespectful attitude of her colleague towards her profession. This indicates that she carries a dignified and respectful approach towards her profession.
As per my personal perception, Caitlin made an excellence justification towards her profession providing respect, dignity and gratitude to herself as well as her profession. Any work or profession is neither small nor useless. Every work holds its own importance and essentiality in society. Caitlin description about her role as an RN holds a very deep look towards her profession. The everyday work of a nurse extends from life to death, sadness to happiness, harm to recovery. Even I was surprised to read her open letter because she beautifully described her profession with full respect and dignity even in a mood of anger and frustration.
As a professional nurse, I would like to develop the trait of self-respect, caring perception and self-reflection that Caitlin holds in her professional identity. Caitlin was not able to accept the disrespectful addressing provided by her colleague to her profession and writing an open letter in response shows her exceptional standard of self-respect and dignity. As a professional, I would like to develop a similar level of self-respect in my perception towards myself as well as my profession. I was surprised to read the open letter by knowing the care that Caitlin provides to her patients. I would also like to develop such caring perception in my professional identity. Further, her self-reflection on her professional work is incredible. Her description of nursing practice shows that nursing role is a very important role in medical practice. Further, her acceptance of being in an angry mood and frustration while writing letter shows that she is a proper profession nurse holding a great power of self-reflection. I would really like to develop all these three traits in my professional identity.
Lastly, the incredible use of social media made by Caitlin is a surprising element in this article because expressing your feeling publically requires great courage especially related to once profession. Once even I used to consider nursing as an easy profession but now I understood that professionalism is never an easy job. If someone wants to be professional then they have to tackle various challenges, develop professionalism and practical perception to attain professional identity.
Beddoe, L. (2013). Health social work: Professional identity and knowledge. Qualitative Social Work, 12(1), 24-40.
Cowin, L. S., Johnson, M., Wilson, I., & Borgese, K. (2013). The psychometric properties of five Professional Identity measures in a sample of nursing students. Nurse education today, 33(6), 608-613.
Hensel, D., & Laux, M. (2014). Longitudinal study of stress, self-care, and professional identity among nursing students. Nurse educator, 39(5), 227-231.
Hoeve, Y. T., Jansen, G., & Roodbol, P. (2014). The nursing profession: public image, self?concept and professional identity. A discussion paper. Journal of advanced nursing, 70(2), 295-309.
Hood, K., Cant, R., Leech, M., Baulch, J., & Gilbee, A. (2014). Trying on the professional self: nursing students' perceptions of learning about roles, identity and teamwork in an interprofessional clinical placement. Applied Nursing Research, 27(2), 109-114.
Johnson, M., Cowin, L. S., Wilson, I., & Young, H. (2012). Professional identity and nursing: contemporary theoretical developments and future research challenges. International nursing review, 59(4), 562-569.
Larson, J., Brady, M., Engelmann, L., Perkins, B. I., & Shultz, C. (2013). The formation of professional identity in nursing. Nursing education perspectives, 34(2), 138.
Maranon, A. A., & Pera, M. P. I. (2015). Theory and practice in the construction of professional identity in nursing students: a qualitative study. Nurse education today, 35(7), 859-863.
'Am I just a nurse?'. (2017). ABC News. Retrieved 31 August 2017, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016- 10-11/just-a-nurse-queensland-woman-writes-open-letter/7919422.
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