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Is Nursing a Profession or a Trade?

Is Nursing a Profession or a Trade?

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

LPNs and RNs must be certified and licensed in the state in which they are employed. Tradesmen, like mechanics, aren’t. But – and this is an important distinction – it is possible to become a certified mechanic if you are learning specific skills and are a master mechanic. You may only call yourself a master mechanic if you have done all the appropriate learning and passed all the required testing. You also need to be kept up-to-date on the latest information in your field.

Furthermore, achieving a university degree is an educational accomplishment, giving a nurse the skills and experience needed to do what those without a degree can’t. Be it a bachelor’s, master’s, or a doctorate, the academic credentials put a nurse on par with professionals in other industries, such as social workers, physiotherapist, dieticians, and teachers.

Nurses who hold a BSN work on the floors (trade), before moving to the ICU (professional), but can easily ends up working on a med-surg floor because of a move and change of workplace. Does this make nursing a trade? Or is it once a professional, always a professional?

Does it Matter?

Does nursing have to be designated as a trade or a profession? Does labeling nursing as a profession give us the respect we so desperately crave? Or maybe we are looking at the whole “professional” angle in the wrong light.

You don’t need to be a “professional” to act professionally. The way you hold yourself, the way you speak and act, and the way you do your work, speaks volumes about your professionalism. The store clerk down the street may be a cashier, but she can present herself very professionally if she chooses, as can the janitor at the school, and the bus driver who brings you to and from work every day. Maybe this is what we need to strive for: Acting professionally. Perhaps once all nurses realize that how we look, speak, and present ourselves plays a big role in how society perceives us, we may then take our place as professionals.

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