Professionalism in Nursing

Characteristics of Professionalism in Nursing for Nursing Students

We are called to the “profession of nursing.” It is important to differentiate between a job or an occupation, and a profession.

Simply put, an occupation is something you do —but a profession is something you are. 

Nursing students can (and should) start learning about professionalism now. Nursing students who display the characteristics of professionalism in nursing today, are more likely to succeed in school and in their future careers. 

That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with NurseHub to bring you a full-length course on Professionalism in Nursing. This valuable content is sure to help students like you prepare for success in nursing school.

The course was created for you. We want to help students learn what nursing professionalism means as a student nurse and as a professional nurse. This course discusses communication with staff and patients, behavior in the clinical and classroom settings, social media, and much more. 

Use this course in conjunction with your specific program’s handbook, which may have more detailed expectations or additional requirements.

You can get started with the Introduction to Professionalism lesson below, which is free for everyone to try! If you want to continue on in the course, click “Enroll Now” to sign up for a premium membership today!

NurseHub’s on-demand library already includes other courses on topics like:

Be sure to check them all out!

But today we want to give you a preview of what to expect in the latest release, our Professionalism course. 

Before we start, if you’re already in a nursing program or starting one this fall, head over to join the Nursing School 101 Facebook group! In the Nursing School 101 community, you’ll find your tribe of like-minded aspiring professional nurses like you. They will help guide, support, and encourage you along the journey. 


Now, let’s dive into what professionalism in nursing is all about.

Defining professionalism in nursing

Professionalism in nursing means embodying the core values of nursing.

  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Advocacy
  • Accountability

These values can help guide nurses in their actions and interactions with others.

The American Nurses Association defines nursing this way, 

“Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.” 

The takeaway is that nursing professionals must be committed to professional nursing and willing to deliver the highest-quality care to patients continuously.


What are some characteristics of professional nurses?

An important characteristic of professional nurses is ethical behavior. Professional nurses follow ethical principles that include: 

  • Justice
  • Beneficence 
  • Nonmaleficence
  • Accountability
  • Fidelity
  • Autonomy
  • Veracity

The Professionalism course goes into detail about what each of these means.

Professional communication is also an important part of being a nursing professional. Whether you are speaking with someone, posting online, or sending messages through your body language, nurses must be self-aware. Professional interaction is an important characteristic of professionalism in nursing for nursing students.


How can student nurses show professionalism in nursing?

Student nurses display professionalism when they act as follows:

  • commit to their roles
  • uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior
  • adopt the right attitudes
  • show respect toward others

Nursing students can also find specific professional standards in nursing school handbooks, clinical site policies and procedures, and state Nursing Practice Acts.

In nursing, professionalism means more than simply being polite. It is a set of behaviors, values, and ethics that serve everyone in the healthcare setting. 

As nursing students, you are held to the same standards as licensed nurses.

At Nursehub, we know that it is exciting and scary all at the same time. But you can do this!


Next Steps

Now you know what professionalism in nursing means. 

And don’t worry! We go over everything further in the NurseHub Professionalism Course. Here is an overview of what you will see in the premium course content. 

Professionalism Course Topics

Introduction to Professionalism

In the first course module, we cover what professionalism in nursing means, why it’s important for student nurses, and how to know if you’re being “professional.”

Professional Characteristics of a Student Nurse

ANA Code of Ethics

Next, we’ll go over the ANA Code of Ethics that guides nursing practice, and talk about other resources that define professional behavior (hint: these include your state Board of Nursing and your school’s Nursing Student Handbook).

Verbal Communication

Nursing students must verbally communicate in ways that are professional and effective. I’ll explain how in this course module.

Non-verbal Communication

Nursing students also communicate non-verbally. Did you know 93% of what you tell your patients, peers, and instructors comes from your non-verbal cues? In this course module, I’ll tell you how.

Professionalism at Clinical


In this part of the course, I’ll explain how to look the part of a professional nurse.

Staff & Patients

This section of the course outlines behaviors that will be sought after by patients, staff and faculty at your clinical site. Learn what is expected so you can stand out in your class. 


Professional Conduct

Social Media

In this section, we cover the HOT topic of social media! You will learn how to make professional judgment when it comes to online behavior and social media use. 

Clinical & Classroom

In the final module, we cover a few more tips on professionalism as well as an overview of what constitutes misconduct


By now you see how this course can help you in nursing school and beyond. To enroll in the Professionalism course, click “Enroll” to sign up for a premium membership today!

You can also catch more tips on professionalism and nursing school by following NurseHub on Instagram and TikTok


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