Generally, the meaning of professionalism in nursing covers a wide scope of thoughts and ideas. First, it is vital to understand the definition of a profession before one can correctly consider the meaning of the nursing profession. According to Oxford dictionary (2013), a profession is defined as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long academic preparation”. It is evident that nursing profession is one that requires specialized knowledge and training. And it also applies to a career that involves formal education or qualification. The nursing field includes a set of skills that unites creativity, flexibility, knowledge and communication that is learnt in a formal education by taking the bachelor of nursing (New Zealand Nursing Council [NZNC], 2008).
After having an intensive and long formal education in nursing, gaining autonomy in practice, and being recognised by the government with licensure, a person will be accepted in the community as a health care professional called Registered Nurse. And their role is merely to provide health care services to individuals, families, and communities (NZNC, 2007). These health care services are designed to promote health, prevent illness, and accomplish optimum recovery from or adaptation to health problems. For example, they act as an advocate for the individuals and focuses not only on the treatment section on individual, but also on prevention and health promotion.
As a registered nurse, he/she should be aware of the responsibilities of being competent. According to NZNC (2007), professional competence is defined as the combination of skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and abilities that support effective performance as a nurse. For instance, a nurse should have an understanding of the professional guidelines that have been set for them. In New Zealand, it is expected that all nurses abide the Registered Nurse Scope of Practice. By being competent and fit to practise, these will ensure to protect the health and safety of the members of the community.
The scope of practice in nursing is the skill set, training and education process, actions and procedures that allow a nurse to carry out a basic task or process in providing patient care, for which the nurse is accountable for (NZNC, 2007). And this includes the four domains of competence.
According to NZNC (2007), the first domain of competence is the professional responsibility. In here, registered nurses are expected to demonstrate knowledge and judgement in their actions and decisions by being accountable for these. Relating to Walsh (2001) definition of accountability, nurses are responsible for their actions at all times while having authority for this actions in the way that they think is best for their patient. For instance, nurses should be familiar with the values and beliefs of the patients as well as to decide what is best for them.