To be a nurse is a calling and difficult to describe in words. Who can say why a person would want to do a nurses work, but those who do will tell you there is nothing as fulfilling or rewarding. Nurses stay by the side of those they serve through the worst times and celebrate with patients and families in the best times. Florence Nightingale is called the mother of modern secular nursing. Born in 1820 in Florence, Italy, this intelligent, upper-class woman made dramatic and universal changes in health care. At age 16, Nightingale was called by God to minister to the sick. In the winter of 2003, a random survey of licensed nurses was conducted at Via Christi Regional Medical Center. The survey asked nurses throughout the organization to name three characteristics that expressed what professionalism was to them. The top eight responses of over 300 surveys were as follows: Professional Personal • • • • Knowledge (78) (51) Competence (53) Appearance (48) Teamwork (27) Respect for others Integrity (35) Positive Attitude (28) Compassion (18) Nurses are required to maintain and develop their professional knowledge and competence in the many years of practice that may follow registration. They are expected to have knowledge, communication skills and the ability to offer effective, safe, evidence-based nursing in their field of practice. Nursing competency ranked second in the Via Christi survey. Some key features of nursing competency are as follow: The ability to recognize common factors that contribute to, and adversely affect, the physical, mental and social well-being of patients and clients, and be able to take appropriate action. The use of relevant literature and research to inform the practice of nursing. An appreciation of the influence of social, political and cultural factors in relation to health care. An understanding of the ethics of health care and the nursing profession and the responsibilities these impose on the nurse’s professional practice. Though problems of intimidation exist, the registered nurse is personally accountable for his/her own practice – not a senior member of staff, physician or other health care professional. Remember the saying “but he/she told me to do it” is never justification for poor practice. Respect for others, integrity and a positive attitude also ranked high in the nursing survey. This finding is not surprising, as it correlates to Gallup’s 2003 annual survey in which nurses were on the top for honesty and ethics among various professions, followed by other medical professionals like doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians and dentists. As nurses embrace the future, what is your vision for the nursing profession? This author believes it will be interactions that nourish our human spirits in the places we live and work. Nurses must be deliberate with time, energy and resources as the profession works toward the goal of quality nursing care. New modalities of delivering care are yet to be envisioned and coordinated – not only for patients being served, but for each other. Fundamental to the nursing professions’ future is our ability to honor, respect and value each other, as well as the inter-personal and interprofessional relationships. Allows maturity and confidence to develop in practice. It allows the development of expertise and the refinement of skills It allows the nursing workforce to be responsive to changes in the management of patients and in meeting emerging care needs. It supports role success and job satisfaction. • Registration • Employment as a nurse • Desire to improve standards in practice • To be the best in what you do. • Added value • To gain qualifications. • To enhance personal status. There are many ways in which you can improve your skills and increase your knowledge in practice that will contribute to CPD These include Post Registration Education- University courses eg OU, RCN. Attending conferences Training – On the job training, in-house training courses, departmental training. Secondments- short transfer to another department or organisation Shadowing, covering colleagues, acting up into a senior role. Coaching Mentoring Reflective practice -acquisition of extended skills. Reading professional Journals eg Nursing Standard. RCN Forums Working across boundaries eg link nurse. Having a knowledge about National and local Health policies and directives. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded (unknown author).