Nursing Fundamentals-Professionalism and Discipline

Table of contents


In this paper I will provide information regarding the definition of nursing, nursing as a discipline, nursing as a profession and nursing roles and settings. In addition, I will provide the fundamentals of nursing related to caring and communication, along with nursing as an art and science. I believe nursing is a very important career needed much around the world, and only certain types of people can be nurses.

These individuals should contain a good heart and a good brain to further their success in nursing; they should be capable of caring, have strong communication skills, and have the knowledge capabilities to accomplish difficult tasks. I will be addressing these topics in my paper. Definition of nursing: Nursing is the collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well in all settings. “Nursing is the use of clinical judgment and the provision of care to enable people to promote, improve, maintain, or recover health or, when death is inevitable to die peacefully” (Newham, R., 2012).

Nurses are capable of more tasks than what most people imagine. Nursing is a mix of communication and caring, and the culmination of art and science. Therapeutic communication is extremely important in a nurse-client relationship. Communication allows an establishment of helping and healing relationships within the individual, family or community client(s). “At the core of nursing care, are therapeutic interpersonal relationships based on caring, mutual respect, and dignity. ” (Burger & Goddard, 2010, p.246).

By ensuring these relationships with clients, responsibilities are to be put forth; ethical responsibilities, legal responsibilities, and professional standards are met. When good communication is established, clients become empowered, which allows them to become capable of their decision making (2010). Verbal and non-verbal communication is very important to sustain. Often, difficulties arise from misinterpretation based on the clients’ perception. The nurse must contain the knowledge of these skills to minimize the unwanted confusion within the communicating process.

Caring is a reflection of what matters to a person and has a wide range of involvements. Having personal concern for others motivates people to care. “Caring practices and expert knowledge that are at the heart of competent nursing practice must be valued and embraced” (Perry & Sams, 2010, p. 266). The act of caring is the process and decisions to help people in ways that include empathy, compassion, and support. All nurses should have this aspect within their nursing career. Without care from the nurse, the client’s holistic, spiritual, emotional and physical well-being can be comprised.

“Instead of focusing on the client’s disease and its treatment by conventional means, transpersonal caring explores inner sources of healing to protect, enhance, and preserve a person’s dignity, humanity, wholeness, and inner harmony” (Perry & Sams, 2010, p. 267). Nursing as a science is the application of knowledge through theoretical framework (Watson, J. , & Smith, M. , 2002). The technical aspect of nursing is more than ordinary technology. Nurses have to be critical thinkers and to know how to solve problems in the most optimum way possible.

Watson states, “the science of nursing [is] to provide reliable and valid approaches, techniques, and theory that will enable nurses to practice effectively while solving problems” (p. 73) According to Watson, the last two decades has experienced an explosion of nursing knowledge that will improve the health, promote and optimize health, prevent illness and injury, and alleviate suffering as much as physically possible. As a profession, nurses have been educating patients, conducting research, and advocating for care. (Watson, J. , & Smith, M., 2002).

However, the artful acts in nursing are those activities that science cannot explain. The art in nursing is the individual practice of the nurse–patient interaction. Attempts are made to reincorporate art and science in ways that are morally, socially, aesthetically, and ecologically grounded by being accountable to a larger whole (Blondeau, D, 2002). New relationships are being established between arts and healing. The act of the nurse treating each patient interaction as a sacred and artful act can be just as beautiful and healing.

The mere presence of the nurse can be more healing than all technology available today. In order for these elements to be put in place, society can expect these activities from the nursing discipline. Nursing as a Discipline Nursing is presented as a unique, independent, and a disciplined profession. A discipline is associated with following a standard way of doing things. There are many areas in which organizations are attempting to take disciplines and create a profession from it (Hayne, Y. ,1992). The goal of the discipline is to expand knowledge and human experiences through creative perception and research.

This knowledge is the scientific guide to living the art of nursing (1992). Interaction between a nurse and a patient at a specific time and place is a very important discipline. Orlando (2010) states, that nursing discipline must be put in a certain order to enable the best outcome for a positive relationship between the nurses and clients (George, J. B. , 2011, p. 164). First, an arrangement of exchanges involving the nurse’s reaction to the patient behavior takes place until the patient’s need for help, as he or she perceives it, is clarified.

Secondly, the nurse and the client in cooperation, decide to resolve the need in an appropriate manner. Lastly, an evaluation of this action is carried out after it is complete. Succession of the action is shown if the patients’ behaviour improves, the desired outcomes were achieved and the process is completed. The process recycles if there is no change or the behaviour of the patient gets worse. (2011) Using the appropriate nursing action and clarifying the patient’s behaviour is needed for progress.

When nurses use this process to communicate their reactions in caring for patients, Orlando calls it the “nursing process discipline. ” She applies the process discipline to contacts between a nurse and a leader and those she supervises and directs (2011). To enable the discipline of nursing to grow, nursing needs leaders who can articulate the place of nursing within modern society. The role of leaders also have to clarify the nursing discipline for the purposes of better understanding the nature of life and the nature of living, to contribute to societies’ health care.

By doing so, nursing can ensure its positive contribution to health care and provide society a better understanding of health. Nursing as a Profession Nursing should always be spoken of and looked upon as a profession, not as an occupation. When the work of nursing was first organized by Florence Nightingale, it was proper to think of it as an occupation, but then the art of nursing the ill has been growing and thriving since ( Ross-Kerr, 2010, p. 32-34). Elliot Fredison; another important role model regarding the health care system, was a leading researcher in the sociology of medicine and other professions.

According to Freidson, the ideal professional is characterized by five elements: specialized work, exclusive control, required qualified credentials, formal training, and a commitment to doing good work before economic gain (Paulsen, 2011). Another important aspect that Freidson addressed, regarding the topic of professionalism, was the physician-patient care. “Only members of the health professions can be trusted, because of their competence, because of their ability to cure sometimes, treat often, and care always” (2011).

Caring requires the concentration of caregivers so that they become aware of the patient’s needs. Paulsen (2011) inquires that a moral quality of caring is derived from being able to perceive needs with as little alteration as possible. He also states that caring “about” differs from caring “for. ” The aspect that is clarified by the awareness of something becoming a need is the caring “about” fragment and having full responsibility for one’s patient, qualifies the caring “for” feature.

This leads into the competency of caring, and how important it is on a professional spectrum. “Incompetent care is not only a technical problem, but a moral one. ” (Hafferty, F. et. al, 2003) This states that within the ethics of caring, one must balance a sustainable role within the clinical setting and contain the knowledge retaining the patient’s rights (2003). Such rights would classify under confidentiality, informed consent, acceptance or refusal of treatment and privacy (CNA, 2008).

Fundamental to Fredison’s definition of professionalism is the claim that the physician must retain independence of judgment and action, if only to decide when and what kinds of care are inappropriate (Hafferty, F. et. al, 2003). Following Freidson’s view on what a professional is, would include the nursing profession. Nursing is a dedicated profession with required skills that are accumulated through formal education and care.

Nursing Roles and Settings If one cannot identify their uniqueness within nursing, a negative impact could be put in place, such as; the lack of a clearly identifiable function, which leads to inadequate care and insufficient attention to the patient’s reactions to his immediate experiences. Then, nurses will identify their role as a concern regarding the right provided direct assistance to individuals in any setting they are found, to the purpose of avoiding, relieving, diminishing or curing the individual’s sense of helplessness. “It is the nurse’s direct responsibility to see to it that the patient’s needs for help are met either by her own activity or by calling in the help of others.” (Lowe, G. , et. al. , 2012).

The importance of nursing uniqueness acts as a function to allow nurses to work in any setting where persons experience a need for help they cannot resolve themselves. Therefore, nurses may practice with well or ill persons in an independent practice or in an institutional setting (2012). Support, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles.

By being influenced by economic, social, and cultural factors, nursing has responded by continuing to meet the needs of health care. The founder of modern nursing is considered to be Florence Nightingale (Ross-Kerr, 2010). Nightingale, along with her staff of nurses dramatically reduced morbidity rates through their care and the importance of comfort for clients. She applied the principles of cleanliness and comfort to nursing care which is today known as one of the fundament principles of nursing.


This paper explained the idea of what nursing is. The fundament concepts of nursing are to provide the most competent care achievable through proper caring and communication, discipline and profession and the knowledge of roles and settings. I have also inquired nursing as an art and science, to better understand the fundaments of nursing. I learned from doing research that the main aspect of nursing is to care. The other points are very valid and important, but to be a truthfully caring nurse, is what a patient really needs to gain the most optimum health.

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