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J Prof Nurs. 2003 Sep-Oct;19(5):251-61.

Current factors contributing to professionalism in nursing.

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  • 1The University of Akron College of Nursing, OH 44325-3701, USA.


A serious nursing shortage is creating a crisis in the nation's health care system. Many experienced nurses are leaving the field and young people are not selecting nursing as a potential career. Reassessment of professionalism in nursing therefore is indicated. A descriptive comparative/correlational design examined differences and relationships among levels of nursing professionalism, experience, educational degrees, organizational membership, and specialty certification in a random sample of registered nurses (RNs) (N=774). The Professionalism Inventory Scale was used to measure attitudinal attributes of professionalism and its five dimensions (use of professional organizations as major referent groups, belief in public service, autonomy, self-regulation, and a sense of calling). A series of statistical analyses revealed that professionalism was related significantly to years of experience as an RN, higher educational degrees in nursing, membership in organizations, service as an officer in the organization, and specialty certification. Today's profession of nursing is evolving as a valuable public service. Positive aspects of nursing professionalism must be recognized and implemented to retain experienced nurses in the profession and attract young people to nursing as a viable career choice.

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