Professionalism in Rural Acute-Care Nursing

Kelly J. Zibrik, Martha L. P. MacLeod, Lela V. Zimmer

Abstract


Professionalism is commonly discussed in nursing but little is known about how it is experienced in everyday nursing practice. This study examines rural nurses' experiences of professionalism and articulates the nature of professionalism in rural acute-care settings. Interview data from 8 nurses in rural acute-care facilities in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, were analyzed using an interpretive description approach. The findings indicate that professionalism among rural nurses is a dynamic, enduring phenomenon that exists in workplace and community contexts. To experience professionalism in rural nursing means being visible in the community while embracing reality in the workplace. Understanding professionalism in a rural context has significant implications in terms of affirming and identifying sources of job satisfaction among rural nurses and creating professional practice environments in rural areas.

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