Nursing, like many other professions, has metamorphosed over the years due to changes in technology and institutions. In this paper, I look at the milestones in nursing since the 1800s and professionalism in the nursing practice.
Difference between Nursing in the 1800s and in the Twenty-First Century
Unlike today when nursing is well established and professional, the practice before Nightingale was informal and private. The data she collected showed that most of the deaths during the war were caused by malnutrition and poor sanitation.
Professionalization of nursing took effect in the latter part of the nineteenth century with changes in the training of nurses (Catalano, 2011). Schools like John Hopkins School of Nursing began to issue diplomas in an apprentice-style education system where learners took care of patients in hospices under the guidance of a nursing supervisor.
Nursing in the 1800s was regarded as a lowly task meant only for women. This view has changed over time. Today, nursing is seen as a necessary and respectable profession. Changes have also been witnessed in the forms of technology applied in nursing.
Professionalism in Nursing
I conceive the term professionalism as incorporating a collection of attitudes, attributes, principles, and moral standards expected of certain professionals by society. The principal values in nursing include altruism, honesty, respect for patients and colleagues, responsibility, accountability, dedication, empathy, and the desire for self-improvement (Catalano, 2011).
When I become a nurse, I intend to portray professionalism by working together with colleagues to foster and sustain a working environment that encourages fellow nurses and values their ethical and professional duties. I also hope to uphold professionalism by respecting patients and their right to privacy and confidentiality. In addition, I intend to treat all patients fairly.
Nursing has come a long way from the informal, practical nursing of the 19th century. The professionalism displayed today in nursing is a testimony to that metamorphosis. All nurses should, therefore, endeavor to maintain professionalism.
Catalano, J. T. (2011). Nursing now!: today’s issues, tomorrow’s trends. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.