Interest in professionalizing the nursing occupation emerged in healthcare organizations in 1970s. This stemmed from the need to provide a substitute motivation for workers with blocked access to structures of mobility and that the ideological draw of professionalism offered the promise of higher degree of control. (Barker 2008, p. 9) Here, it is important to underscore that profession through their scientific credibility becomes a source of power and prestige. Indeed, it arises out of self-interest and provides a means by which occupational groups exert influence to advance their own interest in society. By professionalizing the nursing profession, it was expected that traditional collective action such as unionism would be countered and that nurses, being educated as professionals in colleges and universities, were expected to exercise their knowledge and skills without bureaucratic constraint.
The classical criteria that make a field or profession professional were posited in 1915 by Abraham Flexner, an imminent sociologist, who outlined several qualities. The most important of which follows:
Flexner’s qualities for professionalism stressed rationalism, scientific standards and objectivity. These criteria were addressed by the model that conceptualized nursing professionalism, the Miller’s Wheel. In the wheel model, the center represents the essential foundation of nursing education in an institution of learning and, according to Miller:
Each of the eight spokes represents other behaviors deemed necessary in maintaining or increasing nurses’ professionalism. They are competence and continuing education; adherence to the code of ethics; participation in the primary and referent professional organizations, i.e., ANA and state constituent member associations; publication and communication; orientation toward community services; theory and research development and utilization; and