Professional Identity in the Lived Experience of Hospital Nurses
Diede, Tullamora Thelma
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The purpose of this study was to explore the phenomenon of the lived experience of nurses working with patients in hospitals and, with that information, identify meaningful themes and patterns of how their workplace environment impacts their sense of professional identity. The specific aim of this study was to describe, interpret and, therefore better understand the lived experience of nurses working with patients in a hospital environment and the meaning of this phenomenon as it relates to their professional identify. Over 3 million nurses currently holding active licenses to practice in the U.S.; An estimated 30% of nurses leave their job within the first year and 27% report bullying in the last six months. Nurses experience oppression in their relationships with physicians and other health professionals as well as through lateral violence or bullying from other nurses. Nurses have commonly been viewed as a less important, less intelligent and submissive healthcare team member when compared to other members of the healthcare team. Paradoxically, an annual poll by Gallup consistently identifies nursing as a highly trustworthy profession by the public. This dichotomy of simultaneously being considered incompetent yet holding a high level of trust may leave nurses to question their own professionalism. Historical, political, and sociological factors contribute substantially to this view of nursing within the present health care culture. Because of nursing’s struggle for respect in conjunction with their rates of attrition and bullying, there is a critical need to understand the work of a professional registered nurse. Philosophical hermeneutic phenomenology was used as the methodology to study this phenomenon. Philosophical hermeneutics believes that there is revealed truth in every human experience, not simply one universal truth to be revealed. Therefore, this methodology uses one-on-one interviews and team analysis of transcripts to reveal a deeper understanding of how nurses create a professional identity for themselves in the work that they do with their patients through the narratives or voices of the nurses themselves.