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Nurse leaders' perceptions of registered nurse professionalism: A narrative inquiry

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posted on 31.12.2021, 00:10 by Gina Richards
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore nurse leaders’ perceptions of registered nurse professionalism; expand knowledge related to registered nurse professionalism, and to identify the essential attributes of registered nurse professionalism. Background: Despite the general consensus by members of the public and the healthcare professions that professionalism is essential, a clear understanding of what constitutes professionalism is lacking. Most research studies aim to measure professionalism, with a paucity of research providing clear guidance on how to demonstrate the professional behaviours deemed essential by regulatory authorities and the public. Research design: In this study, narrative inquiry was used to examine professionalism as a fresh and innovative approach in the research of this topic. Through storytelling, nurse leaders voiced their perceptions of the professionalism of the registered nurse in the clinical setting. Through the iterative process of the telling and the retelling of the narratives, the nurse leaders’ voices were allowed to be heard. Data collection and analysis: Twelve nurse leaders were interviewed from the metropolitan healthcare setting in Perth, Western Australia. Data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews, analytical memos and field notes. Focus group interviews were used to verify themes related to the professional attributes of registered nurses in the clinical setting and the influence on these attributes. The two-step approach of Miles et al. (2014) to qualitative data analysis was undertaken. Findings: Four attributes of registered nurse professionalism were identified – respect, professional presence, accountability and collegiality. The influences which impacted on the demonstration of professionalism by the registered nurse were identified as a stable work environment. A professional framework was developed with these attributes and influences. Conclusion: The professional framework developed provides a functional perspective of professionalism. This framework is significant because the attributes are observable and provide a clear and visible understanding of what it means to be a professional registered nurse.



Central Queensland University

Open Access


Era Eligible



Associate Professor Joyce Hendricks ; Adjunct Professor Christopher Churchouse ; Dr Julie Shaw

Thesis Type

Doctoral Thesis

Thesis Format