Professional Role Socialization Paper Research Paper Examples
Professional socialization is a process through which an individual acquires the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values needed to enact the role of the chosen profession in a satisfactory manner (Dinmohammadi, Peyrovi & Mehrdad, 2013). Attached to a role are a set of behaviors which constitute the norms for that profession. These norms are what clients, colleagues, and superiors expect of the individual in a particular role. For instance, associated with the role of registered nurse are caring behaviors, ethical behaviors, critical thinking, leadership, and collegiality among others. It is therefore expected that the nurse display compassion, prevent harm to the patient, promote what is good for the patient, strive to role model positive behaviors, and be a team player.
Three of the criteria of nursing support the process of professional socialization. Nurses, whether they are faculty in a nursing program or are mentors or preceptors in the clinical setting, are expected to educate students or less experienced peers (Dinmohammadi, Peyrovi & Mehrdad, 2013). Nurses as teachers impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the learner and mirror the values of the general or specialist nursing role. Second, nurses as leaders or managers also support professional socialization when they ensure that new nurses transition well into their roles and into the organization (Kramer et al., 2011). Establishing mentoring or precepting programs as part of orientation guarantees that new nurses are able to enact their roles in ways that satisfy organizational and peer expectations. Third, nurses as change agents affect the socialization process. By leading and motivating peers, they are able to promote better ways of thinking and doing (Maragh, 2011).
There are four stages of role transition from an LPN to an RN role. Stage 1 takes place at entry into a nursing program and is characterized by varied emotions as students do not know what to expect (Claywell, 2009). There are also doubts about whether there is really a significant difference between the LPN and RN roles to warrant much learning. In Stage 2, students realize that there is a gap between the two roles as they experience difficulties with entirely new material (Claywell, 2009). Anxiety, frustration, and insecurity are common.
Stage 3 is characterized by the LPN “letting go of the practical nurse way of thinking” (Claywell, 2009, p.59) and adopting the behaviors and thinking patterns of an RN. Students become more open to learning and are less anxious as they gain confidence in their abilities and realize that the transition to RN is achievable. The final stage involves full adoption of RN behaviors and attitudes (Claywell, 2009). Students realize the benefits of higher learning and gain self-efficacy in applying RN-level knowledge and skills into practice.
I feel that I am at the beginning of the third stage of transition. I have recently realized the major differences between the two roles and the many ways that the RN role is more challenging. I feel that I can bridge the gap between the two roles. I am very receptive to and actively seek new information. At work, I compare myself with how RNs work and appreciate what they can do that I can’t. There are times that I feel anxious and frustrated, but seeking the support and encouragement of others enables me to maintain a positive outlook. I am very keen on improving my knowledge and skills and consider it an opportunity for professional and personal growth.
Accomplishing the fourth stage is not without barriers. The lack of support can make the transition to RN practice more difficult as it is oftentimes characterized as a sink-or-swim situation (Melrose & Gordon, 2011). Mentorship is one resource that the student can employ to achieve a successful transition. A mentor is a person who guides, teaches, coaches, counsels, and supports someone with less experience in a role (Race & Skees, 2012). A mentor can foster readiness to independent practice as they promote the application of theory in a real world setting where nurses often face atypical situations not learned in the classroom. Another useful resource is peer support (Melrose et al., 2012). Sharing with more advanced peers one’s difficulties and eliciting information on how they approach the problem as well as the results can help in successfully coping with challenges in the transition.
The lack of time management skills is also a barrier to transitioning through the fourth stage (Melrose & Gordon, 2011). As learning becomes more challenging and coupled with personal roles such as parenting and family caregiving, students may terminate their employment as a strategy to keep up with the academic demands. Again, peers are a resource as they can provide alternative approaches on how to deal with competing demands with the amount of time available. Literature on time management available as journal articles or self-help articles on the web can also help provide ideas on how to prioritize, manage stress, sustain optimism, and juggle multiple roles to achieve academic goals while maintaining work-life balance.
There are 8 areas of differences between the LPN and RN roles. Three of them are assessment skills, patient teaching skills, and nursing care planning. Patient assessment is an integral part of the RN role. It is the initial phase of the nursing process and provides an objective basis for clinical decisions as outlined in the care plan, the document that details the nursing interventions provided to the patient (Wallace, 2013). The assessment needs to be thorough, accurate, ongoing, and holistic in order to ensure that interventions are appropriate to the patient’s physiologic, emotional, social, or cultural needs (Ellis & Hartley, 2012). Hence, nurses must be adept in performing different kinds of assessments and using different assessment tools.
For instance, RNs perform physical assessments in addition to vital signs and pain assessments. They also assess for psychosocial problems such as anxiety or depression. Moreover, they ascertain the effects of the illness on the person’s social roles and family. Cultural needs of the patient such as diet and the use of alternative therapies are evaluated as well. Patient data collected from a variety of sources using different tools enable the identification and prioritization of needs and the planning of related interventions (Wallace, 2013). In addition, ongoing assessments are necessary to monitor the impact of interventions, prevent potential complications, and modify the care plan based on changes. The quality of the assessments performed by an RN assists in achieving the best possible health outcomes for the patient by informing the nursing diagnoses.
Closely related to assessment is care planning. It is the second phase of the nursing process. Care planning is important because it systematizes the provision of nursing care to target patient needs according to priority and with active participation of the patient and family (Ellis & Hartley, 2012). It also facilitates goal-directed care as interventions are selected based on how these help achieve goals determined in collaboration with the patient. Critical thinking must be exercised because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing interventions. Rather, there are developmental, psychological, social, and cultural factors that need consideration in the decision-making process. In addition, it is the responsibility of nurses to guarantee effective care by selecting evidence-based interventions.
In the process of care planning, therefore, nurses must be able to communicate with patients what their condition is, why it warrants interventions, and what the interventions do as well as consult the patient about preferences and desired outcomes (Ellis & Hartley, 2012). For instance, pain is a priority nursing intervention because of the distress it causes to the patient. There are several approaches to relieving pain – medications, non-pharmacological therapies or those that do not require medications, and a combination of both (Gregory, 2014). Personally and culturally, the patient may prefer to receive non-pharmacological therapy. The patient may also find that a pain rating of between 1 and 3 rather than zero is an acceptable goal.
At the same time, the nurse must determine which non-pharmacological therapies have been found in studies to be effective in patients with the same age, clinical condition, and type of pain as the patient (Gregory, 2014). Strong evidence indicating effectiveness will support the decision to recommend alternative treatments to pain medications. Critical thinking and decision-making in the manner described ensures that the care plan addressing pain is holistic, individualized, and effective (Ellis & Hartley, 2012) thereby increasing the chances of achieving the pain relief goals of the patient.
A third area of difference between the LPN and RN role is patient education. Registered nurses need to educate patients to promote their autonomy or their capacity to care for themselves in ways that support their health and wellbeing (Adams, 2010). Areas of education include medications – the purpose, dose, schedule, side effects, adverse effects, contraindications, safety measures, and other important instructions. Another important area of education is self-care after discharge such as how to care for a surgical wound and prevent infection. Another is health promotion – how to eat healthy and have adequate exercise to enhance cardiovascular health. Patient teaching enables patients to engage in behaviors that maintain or improve health outcomes in the short and long term (Adams, 2010).
Part V. Conclusion
There are major differences in the role of LPN and RN. The process of transitioning from one role to the other entails a socialization process that is formal, through the nursing program, and informal through interactions with RNs in the academic and clinical settings. Socialization is intended for the LPN to imbibe the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and behaviors of an RN. The transition process undergoes phases reflecting the degree of socialization and is meant to bridge the differences between LPN and RN functions in various patient care areas including assessment, care planning, and patient education.
As an LPN in transition to the RN role, I plan to continue in the nursing program to develop the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge that underpins the competencies of a professional nurse. I will optimize all learning opportunities to enhance my capabilities and work to address barriers to this goal including improving my time-management skills. I will also initiate an informal mentoring relationship with an RN to assist in my transition.
Adams, R.J. (2010). Improving health outcomes with better patient understanding and education. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 3, 61-72. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S7500.
Claywell, L. (2009). LPN to RN transitions (2nd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Dinmohammadi, M., Peyrovi, H., & Mehrdad, N. (2013). Concept analysis of professional socialization in nursing. Nursing Forum, 48(1), 26-34. doi: 10.1111/nuf.12006.
Ellis, J.R., & Hartley, C.L. (2012). Nursing in today’s world (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Gregory, J. (2014). Dealing with acute and chronic pain: Part one – assessment. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(4), 83-6. Retrieved from http://www.jcn.co.uk/journal/10- 2014/pain-management/1678-dealing-with-acute-and-chronic-pain-part-two- management/
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Maragh, K.A. (2011). The nurse leader as change agent and role model: Thoughts of a new nurse manager. Nurse Leader, 9(3), 39-42. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mnl.2010.09.007.
Melrose, S., & Gordon, K. (2011). Overcoming barriers to role transition during an online post LPN to BN program. Nurse Education in Practice, 11(1), 31-35. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2010.06.002.
Melrose, S., Miller, J., Gordon, K., & Janzen, K.J. (2012). Becoming socialized into a new professional role: LPN to BN student nurses’ experiences with legitimation. Nursing Research and Practice, 2012(946063), 1-8. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/946063
Race, T.K., & Skees, J. (2010). Changing tides: Improving outcomes through mentorship on all levels of nursing. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, 33(2), 163-174. Retrieved from http://www.nursingcenter.com/lnc/cearticle?tid=997576