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The issue oI whether nursing is a proIession is still bring out even though it is already proven
that nursing is a proIession and a nurse is a proIessional in his or her job. Why this issue is still
questioning among us? What are the criteria that make nursing a proIession? II nursing is a
proIession, are the nurses proIessional enough in doing their job in clinical area?
These issues will discuss Iurther in order to make to make clearer oI these problems. In Iact, we
will see each aspects oI the proIessionalism and the signiIicant oI practising proIessionalism at
the early training. It is not only looking at the proIessionalism, we will also go Iurther detail on
how these aspects oI proIessionalism can be achieved by nursing students during their learning
process. It is important Ior nursing students to apply proIessionalism during their training period
as to prepare them to become a proIessional nurse aIter they graduated.
AIter that, we will see the connection between learning sociology and psychology in making a
nurse to be a proIessional nurse. How the sociology and psychology can help nurses in better
understanding oI patients` state oI emotion and health problem in order to give the best services
to them? All oI these are going to be examined and to make this happen, I have been reading and
analysing some books, journals and articles on proIessional in nursing, sociology and
psychology. All oI these sources help me a lot in searching the answers and better understanding
oI the issue oI proIessionalism in nursing.

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Nursing, according to Royal College oI Nursing (2003), is the use oI clinical judgement in the
provision oI care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health
problems, and to achieve the best quality oI liIe, whatever their disease or disability, until death.
From this deIinition, we can see that nursing is mainly about giving care to the sick people in
getting better oI their health problem and having the Iinest quality oI liIe. Nursing have a
particular purpose, particular mode oI intervention, particular domain, particular Iocus, particular
value base, and commitment to partnership. Particular purpose means that nursing is responsible
in promoting health, growth, healing and development, and preventing injury, illness and
inability. A nurse also helps the patients to lessen their anxiety and stress and to cope with their
current health problem. Apart Irom that, maintain the best possible quality oI liIe iI death is
Other than that, nursing also have particular mode oI intervention. Nursing interventions
concerned with empowering people and making them independence through therapeutic
interventions and personal care, inIormation, education, advice and advocacy, physical, spiritual
and emotional support. Next, nursing`s particular domain reIers to people`s unique response to
their health and illness which include physiological, psychological, social and spiritual
responses. What is nursing`s particular Iocus? Nursing is Iocus on human as wholly and not only
look at their pathological condition. In addition, nursing also Iocus on giving a holistic care as
holistic care is completely cover all aspects oI patient care which include physical, mental and
emotion oI patient.
Nursing particular value base stated by Royal College oI Nursing (2003) as ethical value which
respects the dignity, autonomy and uniqueness oI human beings, the privileged oI patient-nurse
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relationship and the acceptance oI personal accountability Ior decisions and actions. This means
the values that are acceptable and take account oI patients` health priority can be assumed as
nursing values. Lastly, nursing also has a commitment to partnership. In clinical area, nurses not
only work Ior the patients, but also with patients` relatives and other proIession such as doctor,
psychiatrist and physiotherapist, and other. This collaboration is occur when the patient need
other proIession`s attention. During this period, nurses will participate under their leadership
where the nurses are assisting them in doing their jobs and all the decisions are made by them.
However, when there is absent oI them, nurses are responsible Ior their actions and decisions.
Now, we already know what is nursing but how about proIession. What is the proIession? Lester
(2007), stated that ProIession` is derived Irom Latin word proIiteor` which means to proIess.
According to Royal College oI Physician (2005), proIession is an occupation whose core element
is work based upon the mastery oI a complex body oI knowledge and skills. It is a vocation in
which knowledge oI some department oI science or learning or the practice oI an art Iounded
upon it is used in the service oI others. Its members possess a commitment oI competence,
integrity, morality, altruism and the promotion oI the public good within their domain. These
commitments Iorm the basis oI social contract between a proIession and society, which in return
grants the proIession the right to autonomy in practice and the privilege oI selI-regulation.
ProIession and their members are accountable Ior those serviced and to society. In addition,
Houle (1980, as cited in Nursing Standard, 2010), a job needs certain criteria to be recognized as
a proIession. Among oI them are mastery oI theoretical knowledge, continued seeking oI selI-
enhancement, Iormal training, ethical practice, service to society, public acceptance, autonomous
practice and others. From these both deIinitions we can conclude that a proIession is that the
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members oI that proIession apply the knowledge that they gained through a certain period oI
learning Ior the beneIits oI the society and the proIession.
ReIerring to these deIinitions, there are certain aspects that important in proIessionalizing
nursing. Pinkerton (2001) say thatthere are six characteristics commonly used to assess whether
a job is a proIession: education oI the practitioner, having a code oI ethics, receiving
compensation commensurate with the work, being organized to promote a needed service,
having autonomy in practice, and being recognized by the government with licensure. Registered
Nurses` Association oI Ontario (2007) and Nursing Standards (2010) both agree that knowledge,
accountability, autonomy and ethics are among the important aspects in proIessionalizing
nursing. There are many others components but we will Iocus more on the stated aspects. The
Iirst and most important aspect is the knowledge that include theoretical, practical and clinical.
The nursing students need to conquer all these knowledge in order to be a competent nurse.
Theoretical knowledge can be attained by attending lectures, reading about nursing Irom a
variety oI sources and doing research. Conversely, practical knowledge is gained by going to
practical lab and doing the certain procedure until they master that procedure. For example, in
IIUM, in order Ior a student to attend practical in the hospital, they need to practice the
procedure Ior IiIty times. This is to make sure that the student can perIorm the procedure in a
saIe way beIore they serve Ior the real patient. Next is the clinical knowledge. The clinical
knowledge is attained during posting in the clinical ward by experiencing, observing and
analysing the situation oI patient. Clinical knowledge is crucial to prepare a nurse to Iace a real
and complex situation in the ward. So, a nursing student needs to attend clinical posting Ior six
weeks per semester beIore they can be a competence nurse that can work eIIiciently and saIely in
clinical ward.
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The next aspect is accountability. Accountability or responsibility is the state oI being
answerable and responsible Ior our own action. To be accountability, a nursing student should
understanding the meaning oI selI-regulation and its implications Ior practice. It is important Ior
the student to know this so that they know the meaning oI their actions and the eIIect to the
patients` health. Accountability actually can be practiced during learning period. For example, iI
a student absent Irom a class, he or she should explain the reason oI absent so that the lecturer
can note that that student absent Irom class due to certain reason. This shows that the student is
responsible Ior his absent by explaining it to the lecturer.
Apart Irom that, autonomy is also among those aspects. Autonomy is the right and the Ireedom
to act independently in both decisions and actions. This statement clearly states that we are the
one who control over our own actions. This aspect can be achieved by working independently
and be a decision maker. For example, during a personal assignment, a student is independent in
their contents and the lecturer just giving the guidelines. Thus, it is upon the student oI what kind
oI inIormation that they want to insert in their assignment. This also same goes to staII nurse that
they are independent in their act and decision and the knowledge acts a barrier and guideline Ior
their action.
The last one is the ethics values. The ethics are including love, observant, willingness to learn,
honesty and others. These ethics are important to Iorm a competence and kind nurses. A nursing
student must be knowledgeable about ethical value and practising that ethics as a part oI their
attitude. These ethics do help a lot in making decisions and to act on decisions. Actually, those
decisions and actions that we possess are reIlecting our attitude. So, it is important Ior nursing
students to practicing those ethics as their attitude so that every actions and decisions that they
make are right and saIe Ior the patient.

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As discuss beIore are the aspects that nursing students possess to become a proIessional nurse.
However, there are other things that they need to learn to be a proIessional which are sociology
and psychology. One must be wondering the link between learning sociology and psychology
and proIessionalism. Sociology and psychology help nurses to understand their patient condition
better and to give an appropriate service Ior patients` recovery. BeIore we understand how
learning sociology helps them to understand patient better, we what is the sociology. Hughes and
Zanden (n. d) deIined sociology as the scientiIic study oI social interaction and social
organization. Other than that, What is Sociology? (2011) stated that sociology is about
understanding the structure and dynamics oI society, and their intricate connections to patterns oI
human behaviour and individual liIe change. In simple word, Giddens (2006, as cited in Green
and Earl, n. d) deIined sociology as the study oI human social liIe`. According to Green and
Earle (n. d), there are two sociological knowledge relevant to nursing which are sociology oI
nursing and sociology in nursing. Sociology oI nursing is the issues that aIIect the nursing
proIession as a whole while sociology in nursing reIers to sociological analysis that applied to
the essence oI individual health care experience.
Birchenalls (2003) argued that nurses are required not only many medical conditions and nursing
procedures, but also the varying interpretation oI care experienced by patients, clients and
proIessional colleagues. It means that nurses are master in both medical Iield and understanding
the patients` situations to determine the correct approach. According to them, nurses or
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especially nursing students should learn sociology so that they can understand their patients well
and then to determine the correct approach. They also stressed that nurses need to understand the
way in which we make sense out oI the social world, so that they can emerge a greater
understanding oI nursing world. Here we can see that sociology helps in better understanding oI
patients regardless oI their age, gender and races and then we can know what is good or right Ior
the patients based on our interpretation guided by the sociological knowledge.
Other than that, a holistic nursing care demands an understanding oI sociology oI health care and
that why nursing students need to learn sociology (Berchenalls, 2003). The patients need to be
care as a whole person rather than their diseases or illnesses only. Holistic care according to
Beck et al (1988, as cited in Berchenall, 2003) is including social, physical, intellectual,
emotional and spiritual. It is clearly stated above that sociological knowledge is needed to
provide a holistic care. As a nurse can see the true personality oI patient, it is easier to handle and
treat them and thus holistic care can be achieved. This ability oI seeing the patients` true
personality or behaviour also can be develop through experienced despite oI sociological
Wirth (1928) discussed that learning sociology is essential to provide the students a wide cultural
background Ior their technical career. Nursing students usually bring along with them a wrong
understanding and perception oI social world Irom their experience which need oI clariIication
and reIlection. According to Birchanells (2003), personal experience is insuIIicient to help the
students understand the range oI experience and role that they are likely to be. So, by learning
sociology is the only way Ior them to know and understand better about the social world. This
knowledge is beneIicial Ior them when they are in clinical ward. For example is when handling a
trauma and anxiety patient. II the student learns about sociology, they know how to Iace this kind
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oI patient through their signs and expression oI their Iace and uses a correct approach so that the
patient will Ieeling saIe and trust with us.

AIter looking at the signiIicant oI learning oI sociology, we can see that nurses actually can play
diIIerent roles depending to the patients` situation. According to Peplau (1952 as cited in Potter
and Perry, 2011), roles oI nurse can be classiIied as primary and secondary role. Primary role are
stranger, teacher, resource person, counsellor, surrogate and leader while secondary roles are
technical expert, mediator, saIety agent, researcher, tutor and manager oI environment. From this
we can say that nurses not only perIorming their own roles but also complement the roles oI
doctors. Apart Irom that, Maben and GriIIith (2008) in their book, Nurses in Society: starting the
debate, said that nurses act as a close contact to the patients. So, the nurses are the one
responsible to Iacilitate the changes in patients` physical and mental. During the admission, the
nurses are who assess the patients` health condition and during this time they also need to
observe any changes in their mental state. II the patients Ieel stress, nurses should be able to help
them to release their stress by be a listener and a motivator. Spending some time to listen to their
story on how they admit to the hospital and giving some good advice or positive words really
help a lot to release their stress and anxiety. That why learning sociology is crucial in helping the
nurses to handle such situation.
Apart Irom that, nurses also act as a social supporter. Social support as explain by Buchanan
(2011) as a concept that is generally understood as intuitive sense, as the help Irom other people
in a diIIicult liIe situation. Social support can improve one`s health condition by raising their
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motivation to get healthy and Iights with the disease. Usually, cancer patients are the one who
really need this kind oI support. II the nurse continuously gives them support and positive
Ieeling, that positive Iorce will go to them and Iinally they will be motivated and Iull oI spirit to
get well soon. It is not Iully depend on medical treatment Ior patients to recover but it must goes
parallel with the patients` motivation and coping with the disease. During treatment, patients
might lose their hope to recover and it is nurses` role to motivate and support them so that they
can cope and bear with the pain.
Other component that nursing students should learn also is the psychology. The psychology
comes Irom the Greek word psyche which means 'breath, spirit, soul and the word logia
meaning the study oI something. According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, psychology
is "The proIession (clinical psychology), scholarly discipline (academic psychology), and
science (research psychology) concerned with the behavior oI humans and animals, and related
mental and physiologic processes" (Nordqvist, 2009). Burr (2002) deIines psychology as about
trying to understand people`s behaviour and experienced. Psychology is about to understand why
people behave, thinking and Ieel, the way they do individually and in a group.
Why nursing students should learn psychology is probably same with the goals oI psychology
which are to build a body oI knowledge about people and applying the knowledge to make the
people`s liIe better (Matsumoto and Juang, 2008). The psychological knowledge is important in
understanding the behaviour oI when it happens, why it happens and even predict it beIore it is
happens. For example is stress. By learning psychology, we can know someone in stress by their
behaviour, sign and even we can know the cause oI stress. Learning psychology is not only
helping nursing students to handle the patients in the ward but also help them in stress
management so that their problem will not even once aIIect their services to the patients. We can
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say that the psychological knowledge applied is not only help to resolve the behaviour`s problem
but also help to understand people better by their behaviour.
In other opinion, Russell (2006) state that learning psychology is to deal with other people`s
emotion. However, beIore we want to understand and handle other people`s emotion, we have to
understand our own Ieeling and emotion. It is to prevent us Irom being under stress and Iall sick
by the workload when treating patients. It is proved by Nicholas (1985, as cited in Matsumoto
and Juang, 2006) that he Iound that nurses working in a renal unit Ielt ill at ease and distanced
themselves Irom patients and partners expressing negative emotions. In addition, The Royal
College oI Physicians and Psychiatrist (1995, as cited in Matsumoto and Juang, 2006) also
published a report that suggested that a lack oI conIidence and unease in dealing with strong
emotion might be partly responsible Ior the many cases oI moderate to severe anxiety and
depression that go undiagnosed and untreated by doctors and nurses in medical settings. To
overcome we need a knowledge base so that it allows us to make sense oI the things that we
experienced and interpret it with the knowledge. In other word, we can say that knowledge leads
us to understand when we unconsciously reIlect on how our thoughts and Ieeling relate to the
things that we observe Irom others or experience by ourselves. This is called as reIlective
practice which asking question. For example that we are annoyed by an anxious patient because
we think that patient is demanding. Conversely, iI we know about the concept oI stress, we are
able to know why they behave like that and handle the problem with the correct approach. In
Iact, this needs to underpin with the interpersonal skill that can support nursing practice which
include communication, listening and observation. In short, reIlection leads to understanding.
The more we understand about psychology, the more accurate are our diagnosis oI problems and
identiIication oI needs and also more positive result come out Irom the implementation. This is
what Russell (2006) means by psychological knowledge making the people`s liIe better.
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As stated beIore, learning psychology is not only beneIits in nursing practice but also in students`
liIe-span development, learning and experience. Learning psychology can help us to understand
ourselves on a whole new level (Do You ..., 2010). It means that by learning psychology we can
know ourselves better like how we can cope with problem and what motivate us. Once we know
how our minds work, we can plan how to work on our success and Iinally we can achieve better
result. For example, we know that in order Ior us to success in our study, we need to put a lot oI
eIIort, praying to Allah and Iinally tawakal or put our trust to Him as Quran said, 'And when you
have taken a decision, put trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves who put their trust in Him (Surah
Al-Imran, 3:160).
Psychological knowledge that we learn do help us in liIe-span development and experience. The
knowledge that we learn need to apply in liIe while dealing with other people. This help us to
know people well on how they communicate, behave and response to others. The psychological
knowledge leads to reIlect on us, communicate and response to others based on our experienced.
As Russell (2006) say that knowledge leads to understanding when we consciously reIlect on
how we thought and Ieel relate to the things that we observe or experience.
In Islamic perspective, Prophet Muhammad permitted women to nurse young adults who were
not their children (Shamoun, n. d). He said this in his hadis,
' A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Sahla bint Suhail came to Allah's Apostle
(may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger oI Allah, I see on the Iace oI Abu HudhaiIa (signs
oI disgust) on entering oI Salim (who is an ally) into (our house), whereupon Allah's Apostle
(may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up
man? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) smiled and said: I already know that he is a
young man. 'Amr has made this addition in his narration that he participated in the Battle oI Badr
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and in the narration oI Ibn 'Umar (the words are): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him)
(Book 008, Number 424)
Sociology sometimes see as not as important as others. However, in Islam, sociology is seeing as
main knowledge in understanding social organization and structures. As human is multiple in
races and ideologies, we need to know what do`s and don`ts Ior them and Iind a suitable ways to
meet them (Mohd. Zaki Kirmani, 2001). In Quran also Allah asks us to know each other oI
diIIerent races and tribes. So, we can see that in order to give a holistic care to the patients,
sociological knowledge and nursing must work together as in holistic care see patients as a
whole person not only the illness. In short, Islam do stress on nursing care and sociology that
important Ior nursing students to know to be a proIessional.

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In conclusion, proIessionalism is about being knowledgeable in certain Iield oI knowledge, able
to apply it in practical, possess a speciIic ethics and giving the best services to the client. To be a
proIessional nurse, nursing care, sociology and psychology must work together to deliver a
holistic care. Sociology and psychology provide a guideline on how the nurses can understand
and communicate with the patients. Sociology is speciIically guide the nurses on understanding
the patients by looking at their background, races, genders, ages and others so that we as the
nurses can do the correct approach to the patients. For example, use correct language Ior the
elders so that they can respect us as a care provider. Conversely, psychology is helping us in
dealing with the emotion oI patients. In psychology, there are many approaches that can be use in
dealing with the patients but Iirst we need to assess patients` mental state. Then, we can Iind the
correct approach to handle the situation. For example, when dealing with anxiety patients, we
can`t just give the medicine to them. In Iact, we need to explain to them what the signiIicant iI
they take the medicine. This method can calm them and release their anxiety by making them
Ieel saIe and comIortable. To conclude, we can say that a proIessional nurse is the one who can
give a holistic care to the patients and the one who serve the patients as a whole. This must be
together with knowledge and ethics that make them possess proIessionalism in nursing care.

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