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Is Nursing a Profession or a Trade?

Is Nursing a Profession or a Trade?

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

Is it possible for a profession to have an identity crisis? If so, then nursing does. Nurses frequently fight among themselves about who should be called a nurse, and they fight with the outside world about whether nursing is a profession or a trade. So which one is it? Is nursing a profession? Or a trade?

The world needs tradesmen. Even the wealthiest and most educated among us need electricians, automobile mechanics, and roofers. The workers train long hours and continue throughout their career to learn to adapt as technology moves ahead. There should be pride in work well done as a tradesman.

Professions were once limited to the upper crust: The doctors and lawyers of society. More jobs joined the ranks of professionals as they developed, like engineers, dentists, and architects. At first glance, the difference between the trades could be as simple as who gets their hands dirty and who doesn’t.

Professionals are governed by professional bodies, and must satisfy minimum requirements to be granted the right to call themselves a member of their chosen profession; they are required to participate in life-long learning. But don’t tradesmen have to hold certifications and upgrade their skills and knowledge as well?

Is the difference between a trade and a profession about the decision-making process? In other words, do you make decisions or are decisions made for you? It’s not so clear-cut: There are many tradesmen who own companies and make their own decisions, while there are many professionals who take orders from superiors.

Furthermore, in nursing there are various levels involved: There are the administrators as well as those with advanced degrees and certificates. There are also front-line nurses who get their hands dirty providing care to patients.

Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), are fighting to receive the same recognition as registered nurses (RNs). LPN programs are shorter than RN programs, but many LPNs find they do much of the same work as RNs.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses, with either a diploma or an associate degree in nursing (ADN), also fight for recognition. To become an RN, you must complete at least a two-year college-level degree and the prerequisites – more education than LPNs receive. However, with LPNs increasingly doing more work similar to RNs, RNs are being phased out in some places.

Although RNs may work on certificates and continue their education to expand their knowledge and specialize in certain areas, RNs without a BSN are rarely chosen for advancement, so they are limited within their professional growth.

Next: Bachelor’s in Nursing >>


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  • Smurfnurse_max50

    Inara

    almost 4 years ago

    64 comments

    @johnhwoo but I think there's a point to be made. Nurses with more certifications/degrees/education shouldn't be considered at the same level as nurses without that kind of merit. Otherwise, what's the point of earning those distinctions?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    marpatrob

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I think that nursng is a trade. True professioals are not told what uniforms to wear, what time to show up on a job, have to punch a clock and have so many regulations in place. I therefore see it as a trade show that wants to make its way into the professional realm.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lralkhatib

    almost 4 years ago

    2094 comments

    of course its a profession not trade or a business.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    johnhwoo

    almost 4 years ago

    14 comments

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    johnhwoo

    almost 4 years ago

    14 comments

    It's a profession, no contest.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    RNinCA

    almost 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Nursing in its current iteration is labor - while other healthcare practitioners with more narrow scopes of practice have intelligently moved toward increasing entry level education requirements (to the doctorate level) and thus independence, nursing has chosen to require less - a choice inspired by employers and appreciated by those who want a relatively short path toward employment. The choice is short sighted though as it has resulted in the current level of discord and inability to muster the incredible political potential of over 3 million RNs in the US. Nurses remind me of crabs trying to escape a boiling pot - as some try to climb up others pull them down...........

  • 129_max50

    Protoplasm

    almost 4 years ago

    204 comments

    I think the more we feed into small and insignificant details like the differences between what a profession and a trade are the more we get nowhere. If we put or minds to it, why not create an entire new term of our own? We should not fight amongst ourselves or society. Is not Trade an often close and interchangeable term for profession? and are they not one in the same and but also different,which is possible, there are many words like this. To me a Trade is a skill set or vocation involving a career or job set certification, where a profession can be using different trades together in a career, job or a vocation derived from acedemic education. If there can be an intermediate term applied to those between a professional and a tradesmen, I always think of an apprenticeship or internship sometimes a resident. Does a nurse not have to educate and train other nurses? In so me cases yes, just as doctors do, we need more leaders in nursing, who will stand up for what is right and true.I may not have the experience to say this, but I speak from my heart.

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    genefran

    almost 4 years ago

    10 comments

    I disagree with the bachelor argument in this article. Many of us are associate degree nurse's. While a bachelor degree looks good and should be obtained. I have met several that lack the skills to perform basic nursing but can talk a good game. They might advance, but than they could also be blamed for so much incompetence seen in upper management in the hospital system found here in America. The out of touch behavior with what goes on daily at the bedside. It is unfortunate we lack respect for those that perform the most necessary work in society and the ones that truely perform the services the client came to receive in the first place.

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    Account Removed

    almost 4 years ago

    L. Gray RN, BSN, PHN I have been a bedside nurse (Labor and Delivery) for 24 years and have branched out into patient and staff teaching. I love the bedside and my patients as well as the teaching I do. My problem with professionalism was with some staff members and MDs who were not "professionals" and jeopardized patient safety and care due to their laziness. When I spoke up (whistle blower), I was terminated for a bogus "poor performance". It seems that the hospitals, JCAHO, or the state and federal agencies are protecting patients. I am horrified to see what is ignored and occurring in hospitals now.

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    bushrn

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    i have my ADN in nursing, and as my own choice i choose not to further my education unless forced to, i absolutly love being a bedside nurse, i feel as though i make a difference in the lives of my patients and families, even if im not thought of as a "professional" i treat my patients, coworkers and management, doctors etc with the utmost respect and professionalism that comes with only 20 years of beside nursing. And as a result i receive the utmost respect and professionalism from the doctors, coworkers and patients as well as there family.... I love critical care nursing and would never consider wanting to change my bedside nursing abilities.

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