Iranian Nurses' Perceptions of Their Professional Growth and Development

Article excerpt

Abstract

Change in today's healthcare settings is inevitable. Professional growth and development are essential in order to remain a viable member of the healthcare team. Although the importance of professional growth and development is emphasized in the literature, the associated outcomes of professional development have not been fully described. In this article the authors present a qualitative study in which 21 Iranian nurses, whose years of nursing experienced ranged from 3 to 28 years, shared the perceptions of their professional development and growth. In reporting the study findings the authors discuss how these nurses described their skill and psychosocial development within the themes of developing judgment, improving communication, instilling confidence, seeing the whole patient, and strengthening commitment to nursing.

Citation: Rahimaghaee, F., Nayeri, D. ,Mohammadi, E., (November 9, 2010) "Iranian Nurses' Perceptions of Their Professional Growth and Development" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 16 No. 1.

DOI: IO.3912/OJIN.V0II6N0OIPPTOI

Keywords: professional growth, professional development, staff nurses, expertise, skillfulness, communication, professional judgment, holistic nursing, commitment, skill development, psychosocial development, nursing in Iran

Change is inevitable, especially in today's healthcare organizations. Commitment to professional growth and development is essential in order to remain a viable member of the healthcare team (Dimauro, 2000).

The nursing profession has long recognized the value of the expert nurse (Benner, 1984). Herzberg, in his organizational theory, the Motivation-Hygiene Theory, considered growth and development to be a professional success factor. In the Maturity Motivation Theory, Argyris portrayed growth as having deep interests, consciousness, and self-control (Argyris, 1957). Professional growth is vital to individuals, organizations, and the professions, including the nursing profession (Morgan, 2007). Although skillful and knowledgeable nurses contribute to organizational goals and work efficiency, developing professionally can be a significant challenge for clinical nurses (Clark & Holmes,. 2007; Meaaherf 2004; National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery, 2004).

In order to better understand professional growth and development the Ovid, Proquest, Medline, and Scopus data bases between 2000 and 2010 were searched, using the keywords "professional development," "professional growth," and "competency." Professional growth was explained as referring to the development of knowledge, skills, and expertise that enable one to perform at a higher level of efficiency (California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California, 1985). The United States (US) National Staff Development Council (2010) described professional development as referring to a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving personnel. Tanskey (1991) noted that professional development involves learning that is broad, complex, and related to the totality of the learner, rather than learning that is related to a specific skill. It is a proactive process that enables people to make progress in their career. Although the need for both professional growth and professional development is frequently mentioned in the nursing literature, discussion regarding the experience and associated outcomes of this growth and development is limited.

In Iran nurses make up a significant portion of the employees in the healthcare system. However, they do not enjoy the same status in healthcare organizations as do physicians (Adib Hajbaqhery, Salsali, & Ahmadi, 2005; Dehghan Nayeri, Nazari, Salsali, Ahmadi, & Adib Hajbaqhery, 2006). Research in Iran has identified consequences of this status differential to include dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and low quality of the service among nurses, all of which lead to patient dissatisfaction (Dehghan Nayeri, et al, 2006: Emamzadeh Ghasemi, Vanaki, Dehghan Nayeri, & Faqhihzadeh. …