The purpose of the study was to comparatively assess the professional values endorsed by hospital and university based nursing students. Descriptive survey was adopted for the study. No sampling was done as all the subjects who met the inclusion criteria, 233 nursing students were included in the study. Informed written consent was obtained prior to the study. Modified nurses professional value scale (MNPVS) was used for data collection after the facevalidity and reliability were determined by experts. The reliability of the test instrument was 0.87. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The results were presented in tables as percentages, means and standard deviations. One- way ANOVA was used to test scores according to the five core nursing values at 0.05 levels of significance. Result showed that all the fifty (50) item statements on the MNPVS were endorsed as professional values by nursing students. No item was scored below 3 which is the critical scale average score. The results of the scores ranged between 3.51- 4.48 (SD=1.19-0.76).It was also discovered that there is no significant difference in the professional values endorsed by female and male nursing students, F(1,231) =0.89, P>0.05. No significant difference was found between that of hospital and university based nursing students, F(1,231) =0.54, P>0.05. The result also showed no significant difference in professional values of female and male hospital-based, F(1,103) =0.75, P>0.05. No significant difference in that of female and male university based nursing students, F(1,126) =0.36, P>0.05. However, there was significant interaction effect of programme type and gender differences on professional values among nursing students F(1,229)=0.16, P=.900. Based on the findings the following recommendations were made. That though majority of nursing students highly endorsed the values of nursing, a lot still need to be done to maintain the status as well as promote high endorsement. Nurse educators should continue to teach code of ethics in all nursing programmes. Nurse educators are to review what is taught to ensure all aspects of nursing ethics are emphasized and that those items scoring lowest in the MNPVS though still within the relevant range could be emphasized more to impart their relevance. Purposeful mentoring with attention to professional values is recommended for all nurses, nurse clinicians, nurse educators and nurse administrators.
Background to the Study
Professional values are standards for actions accepted by the practitioners and professional group that provide a frame-work influencing the behavior of the group (Hayes, 2006). It reflects how a group conduct themselves at work and how they relate to their patrons, colleagues and members of the community. It implies service with honesty and integrity, freedom of information and knowledge (Clark, 2009). Professional values are demonstrated in personal nursing practices that have altruism as the motivating force. This altruistic view is characterized by values such as “commitment, generosity, perseverance, benevolence and sympathy” (Altun, 2002). Professional nurses take responsibility for the conduct of their own activities; work to make policy decisions that support professional nursing, and practice according to nursing code of ethics (Joel and Kelly 2002). Despite gains in the process of professionalism, nursing continues to struggle with some aspects of professional status. To support the title of ‘profession ‘, nursing must embody and enact a set of professional values that guides its members.
The educational preparation of the registered nurse (RN) may make a difference in professional values. The two nursing education programmes in Nigeria (hospital and university based) instill in their students the understanding that they are professionals and members of the profession of nursing. However the curricula of these programmes differ in the extent to which professional values are emphasized, hospital-based programme as a rule emphases psychomotor learning and technical skills necessary to carry out basic nursing tasks and medically related functions and provide experiences in basic bedside nursing. It provides value on substantial clinical experiences. Baccalaureate nursing programme in addition to the mentioned values also emphasize liberal education based on the humanities and arts, philosophical and theoretical approaches and scholarship and include basic to complex nursing skills (Kubsch, Hansen and Huyser –EatWell, 2008; Clark, 2004). Baccalaureate students are provided with education that supports the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) (2005) core nursing values of human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism and social justice.
In practice, the professional nurse fills a variety of roles, including health promoter and care provider, learner and teacher, leader and manager, research consumer, political advocates, colleague and collaborator (Blais, Hayes, Kozier, and Erb, 2006). In these roles, the professional nurse assumes accountability and responsibility for enacting the full scope of nursing within the legal and ethical boundaries of the profession. However, each nurse professional values can influence the extent to which and the way in which these rules are enacted. For example, in the health promoter and care provider role, the professional nurse carries out the entire nursing process holistically with individuals, families, and communities (Blais et al. 2006). If the nurse does not value the concept of holism, the way the nursing process is carried out will not likely be holistic. If the nurse does not value nursing’s unique body of knowledge, the interventions used will most likely not emanate from this.