How to Act Professionally in the Field of Nursing

Follow these tips for a better career!

how to act professional nursing tips

If you are in job training for careers such as nursing assistants or practical nurses, you have probably heard your instructors talk about acting professionally on the job. Why is this so important? Acting in a professional manner is important to your career because it helps you earn respect from others, and in the end, you may even find that you have a higher respect for yourself. As you set off in your new career, be sure to try these tips!

1. Show your patients the highest respect.

There is a reason that this tip is number one. Respecting your patients is the most important tip of all, because your patients are the reason for your career. You are here to help them get better. You may occasionally have a patient who is very difficult. The person may be very demanding, angry, or rude. Even still, it is your job to treat them calmly, keep your cool, and show them that you are a professional.

2. Observe patient privacy.

In your nursing assistant training, you will learn about the importance of HIPAA and patient privacy. Follow your employer’s guidelines on HIPAA, and remember never to talk about your patients with anyone except their healthcare team.

3. Remember what your parents taught you.

Simple manners go a long way in creating a professional impression. Hold the door for the person behind you, greet everyone with a smile, and don’t forget to say please and thank you! And this is how you should treat everyone—from the highest to the lowest positions within the workplace.

4. Go above what is expected.

If you are starting out in an entry-level position as a nursing assistant or practical nurse, it’s a great time to make a good impression. Make sure you are thorough in everything you do. Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t try to get away with doing the minimum. Instead, go beyond what is expected. This is a great way to show that you are serious about your career.

5. Don’t be a complainer.

We all know who the complainers are. You will meet some people in your job who complain every day about a variety of different issues. Don’t become one of them! Your supervisor and fellow co-workers will not want to listen to you complain, and it reflects poorly on you as a professional. Instead, keep a positive attitude about your job, and try to lift the spirits of your coworkers rather than bringing them down.

6. Be a life-long learner.

In healthcare careers, things are changing and improving all the time. Set a goal for yourself to learn something new every day on the job. Try to keep up with the changes in the healthcare system throughout your career, and don’t be afraid to try new things. This will help to keep you flexible and adaptable on the job.

7. Avoid gossip.

Don’t make the mistake of gossiping about your fellow co-workers. There is never anything to be gained by gossip, and in fact, it can come back to hurt you later. If people around you start to gossip, you can politely change the subject, or just tell them that you don’t want to put anyone else down.

8. Dress the part.

If you want to be respected in your job, it’s important to dress professionally. As a nursing assistant or practical nurse, you will probably wear scrubs most days. Be sure they are clean. They shouldn’t be worn out or wrinkled. Your shoes should look clean and well cared for. Keep your fingernails short and clean, and be sure your hair is clean and pulled back out of the way. Don’t go overboard with makeup, perfume, jewelry, or body art. People tend to make judgments on these things, and toning it down can help project a more professional image.

9. Turn off your smart phone.

When you are working, you need to put away your personal electronic devices. Attending to your phone will send a message to your employer and your patients that you are not serious about your job. Remind your friends that you cannot respond to texts or calls during work. Depending on the policies of your employer, you may be able to check your phone during your breaks, so be sure to save it for break time.

We hope these tips have helped you think about professionalism in a new way. Acting professionally on the job is one relatively easy way to boost your reputation with your boss and your co-workers. And the best reward of all may be how you feel about your career and about yourself.


This article was provided by the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, New Hampshire. If you want to find out more about career training to get your career back on track, contact us today. Our admissions are rolling, so you can enroll at any time. We hope to hear from you!

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