|dc.description.abstract||Nurses are the backbone of the health care system in South Africa and spend more time with patients than any other member of the health care team. They are required to behave in a professional manner at all times.
Unfortunately, professionalism within the nursing profession appears to be deteriorating. Nursing students entering the profession are at risk of assimilating unprofessional behaviour from their colleagues and inevitably, unprofessional behaviour negatively affects service delivery and the quality of patient care. Nurse educators play a key role in facilitating professional socialisation in students to enable them to mould into the nursing profession as they integrate the fundamental norms, values and standards governing the nursing profession. Unfortunately the concept of professionalism is poorly defined and might interfere with this education and assessment of professional socialisation of nursing students. The aim of this study was to define professionalism within the nursing profession using a qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design to obtain an in-depth understanding of the concept of professionalism. The concept of professionalism was analysed in-depth using the concept analysis method of Walker and Avant (2011), based on Wilson's work (1963). A clearer meaning of professionalism was obtained when the ordinary and professional meaning of the concept was examined by using a systematic way to search the literature. Qualitative content analysis resulted in the key attributes of the concept of professionalism being identified and extracted. Thematic analysis contributed to a further reduction of the data into categories of similar attributes, followed by quantitative content analysis where the data was classified in terms of frequency to identify meanings that are most often associated with the concept. Thereafter a connotative definition was formulated. The clarification of the meaning of professionalism was obtained by using model, contrary and borderline cases. The findings reveal many definitions on professionalism with overlapping defining characteristics, however when recognised attributes of professionalism were grouped together an exact definition of professionalism was not easy to obtain. The concept of professionalism was defined in the context of the nursing profession and the aim of the study was effectively achieved. The findings of this study provide the opportunity for further research, education and recommendations for nursing practice.||en_US