The Image of Nursing

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The Image of Nursing

Dawn Davis

Texas A&M University-Texarkana

The Image of Nursing

Following is a discussion of the image of nursing and professional identity. Factors contributing to nursing image and the effects of nursing image are included.

The Image of Nursing

What is the professional identity, or the image of nursing? How does the public view this hardworking profession? Do they understand what a nurse does? Do they understand the thought processes involved in caring for patients. Do they understand the knowledge involved in critical thinking? Do they have any idea that we formulate plans of care and that we put together nursing diagnosis with treatment plans, nursing interventions, expected outcomes? Do they understand that we are their advocates? Do they understand that all care is channeled through nursing and that we are their main defense for patient safety? Are we professionals in the eyes of the public, and in our own eyes?

For my own research on this paper, I randomly quizzed ten people that I met in public, not people that knew me personally. I asked them what they thought of nurses, and asked them to give me some adjectives to describe nurses in general. Some of the positive responses that I received were; kind, caring, cool, they help the doctors, they take care of patients, outstanding, knew what they were doing, they saved my life, and excellent. I also received some negatives. One person told me that they knew one nurse that was totally uncaring, unprofessional, and mean. Another individual told me that many years ago her son, who passed away, was HIV positive and she felt that the nurses neglected him because of his diagnosis. I was appalled at the negative answers, and somewhat disappointed with the positives. While the positives that I received were all fantastic traits, not one person mentioned traits such as educated or professional. My very limited random research was completely in line with the findings in our text book, Professional Issues in Nursing.

So, it would seem that, in general, the public doesn’t completely understand the wide scope of nursing. They understand some of the basic functions of nursing. The few random individuals that I spoke with based their perceptions mainly on personal past experiences with nurses. Nursing Image

What is Nursing Image? This is a concept that needs more clarification and study to increase nurse’s awareness of factors that affect public perception. “Understanding the moral values in today’s nursing practice will help nurses to work together with a common comprehension of their aims. This should also allow greater appreciation of the practice of nursing highlighting the equal importance of both fundamental basic nursing care and the advanced clinical roles” (Horton, Tschudin, & Forget, 2007) Nursing image also affects the decision to enter nursing as a profession, to remain in nursing, and to encourage others to become a nurse. A broad definition is “Nursing Image is a multidimensional, all-inclusive, paradoxical, dynamic, and complex concept.” (Rezaei-Adaryani, Salsali, & Mohammadi, 2012) To further define:

* All-inclusive and paradoxical refers to both stereotypical and professional image. * Dynamic includes the changing view of nursing as a profession. * Complex, because many factors influence the formation of the image. Factors affecting Nursing Image

Many factors combine to influence the image of nursing as a profession. Some of The factors include media, poor communication and visibility, clothing style, the nurses’ behaviors, gender issues, and professional organizations. (Rezaei-Adaryani, Salsali, & Mohammadi, 2012) * Media- Historically media has not painted a very professional image of nursing, although, recently this has improved to portray a more capable, independent, strong, intelligent individual. * Poor communication and invisibility- Nursing is an...
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