1. Donelan, Cheryl MSN, MBA, RN
  2. Dusek, Judy MSN, MEd, RN, ARNP, CNS
  3. Gosnell, Dawn MSN, RN, ARNP, CNS

Article Content

Problem and Significance

One of the initiatives defined by the practice development specialists during a fall retreat was an awareness of professionalism in practice and the significance of identifying what it is according to our nursing staff.


Purpose or Objectives of the Project

The purpose of the project was to identify characteristics of professionalism according to our nursing staff and to compare to the nursing literature.


Description of the Project

According to human resources, approximately 5000 nurses in the Via Christi Health System provide care to patients. The nursing directors for each unit were given a packet with a question regarding professionalism for each professional nurse to be distributed by the directors at staff meetings.



Each professional nursing staff employee was given a half sheet of paper with a request to identify professionalism. The question was, "In an effort to define professionalism, we ask that you as a professional nurse complete the question below. What are 3 characteristics that identify professionalism?" The nursing directors highly recommended completion of the questionnaire, although not mandatory. No identifiers were required on the forms.



Approximately 300 professional nurses completed the questionnaire and the results were tabulated on an Excel Spread Sheet in 3 categories: Personal, Professional, and Technical. The most responses were in the Personal and Professional categories. The top 3 in the Personal Category were respect for others, positive attitude, and integrity and honesty tied for third place. The top 3 in the Professional Category were: knowledge, appearance, and competence. Nurses were then chosen to discuss these characteristics while being video-taped. The videotape was then copied for all nursing units to view as well as having it available for all to see during Nurses' Week May 2004. In addition, one CNE hour was offered free to all nurses on the Internet that was developed by the authors.


Conclusions, Including Implications for Nursing Practice

The process of asking nurses to share opinions about professionalism was viewed by them as allowing their voices be heard. It would have been easier to have reviewed the literature and given the information to them, but our approach to this initiative was much more meaningful. Behaviors have shown that they believe what they said and are showing it by their actions in caring for patients. Professionalism has become more visible in our institution through the efforts that were made to incorporate our nurses into the process.


Section Description

This year's annual NACNS conference is planned for Orlando, Fla, March 9-12, 2005. Over 300 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are expected to attend, and as with past conferences, attendees will also include graduate faculty from CNS programs, nurse administrators, and nurse researchers. The theme of the conference, CNS Leadership: Navigating the Healthcare Environment Toward Excellence, was selected to showcase the many ways CNSs acquire and disseminate knowledge and innovative practices in their specialty areas. Two preconference sessions are scheduled. One session, sponsored by NACNS Legislative/Regulatory Committee, targets information for CNSs interested in understanding the legislative/regulatory process as it deals with the practice of nursing, and will also help build skills CNSs need to engage in the process. The second session, sponsored by NACNS Education Committee, focuses on CNS education issues, and as with the education preconferences of past years, anticipates informative dialogue and much sharing among CNS educators around curriculum design, teaching strategies, and indicators of quality in the curriculum that link to the NACNS education standards to program review and excellence. The conference planning committee is proud and pleased to have Jeanette Ives Erickson, MS, RN, CNA, Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive of Massachusetts General Hospital as the opening keynote speaker. She will begin the conference by highlighting the importance of CNS practice on patient safety. The planning committee is equally proud and pleased to have NACNS past-president Rhonda Scott, PhD, RN, Chief Nursing Officer of Grady Health System as the closing speaker. Dr Scott will challenge attendees to use the information from the conference to shape quality care delivered in a safe environment and to advance the profession of nursing through direct care to clients, influencing standards of care delivered by other nurses, and influencing the healthcare delivery system to be to support innovative, cost-effective, quality nursing care. A total of 64 abstracts for podium and poster presentations were selected in addition to graduate student posters. The abstracts address the 3 spheres of CNS practice with a strong emphasis on clinical practice improvements. As you will note from the abstracts published in this issue of the journal, specialty practice areas represented in the abstracts include children, adults, and gerontological patient groups; hospital, outpatient, and home care settings, and community health. In addition, a wide variety of specialty topics including smoking cessation programs, end-of-life care issues, and protocols outlining nursing approaches to improved diabetes, cardiovascular and ventilator management. A number of the abstracts described hospital and healthcare system level innovations that resulted from CNS practice. Collectively, these abstracts reflect the breadth, depth, and richness of CNS contributions to the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities. The following abstracts are from those presenters who elected to have their work published in the journal so those who are unable to attend this year's conference can share in the knowledge of the conference. As you read each abstract, consider the talent and clinical scholarship of your CNS colleagues who are advancing the practice of nursing and contributing to improved outcomes for patients and healthcare organizations. You may want to contact individual presenters to network, collaborate, consult, or share your own ideas about these topics. Watch for next year's call for abstracts and consider submitting an abstract for presentation at NACNS's next conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15-18, 2006.