Profession or Occupation

Posted on July 20, 2012 by in Ask a Nurse

Question posted by: Angie on 07/20/2012 |
For my Professional Role Development course, we’re having a discussion about whether nursing is a profession, or an Occupation. I’m very interested in hearing experienced nurses’ opinions on this. Which would you say, and – more importantly, why?

In my mind a profession is something you ARE and and occupation is something you DO …. What do you think?

Thanks for any feedback!


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11 Responses to “Profession or Occupation”

  1. avatar
    Bunnie 23 July 2012 at 10:43 AM #

    I always thought the difference between a profession and an occupation was formal training. An occupation does not require formal training, whereas a profession does. Therefore, I would say that nursing is a profession.

  2. Profile photo of Kathleen Clarke Berrios
    Kathleen 23 July 2012 at 11:01 AM #

    I think nursing is a profession, but I also think people think of us as an occupation. People do not think how much education goes in to being a nurse.

  3. avatar
    Teri 23 July 2012 at 12:12 PM #

    I definitely consider nursing a profession. I am always a nurse. ( just ask my kiddos). Like you I feel a profession is something you are and an occupation is something you do. When people ask what I do for a living I reply I am a nurse, not I work as a nurse. Hope that makes sense!

  4. avatar
    Toni 23 July 2012 at 12:52 PM #

    Nursing is comprehensive, evolving, intense, exhausting and rewarding. I am an RN. It is who I am. :-)

  5. avatar
    Michele 23 July 2012 at 12:56 PM #

    I’ve been an RN for 5 years and it’s my profession. Whether I’m working or not, I’m always a nurse. Friends and family would agree I’m sure, it’s a big part of who I am. Not just what I do.

  6. Profile photo of Janna Leece Voigt
    Janna 23 July 2012 at 2:01 PM #

    Nursing is a profession and a calling. And I don’t mean that in any kind of religious way. When you are a nurse, it defines you. It’s something that you are extremely proud to do as a profession…. I don’t believe I’ve ever met a nurse who hates what they do. We go into work each day and we use all that we are to make someone else better. That’s why I say it’s a calling. Good luck to you!

  7. Profile photo of Audra Hall
    Audra Hall 23 July 2012 at 6:29 PM #

    I have been an LPN for 23 years. It’s who and what I am. Ever since I was 5 years old, that’s all I wanted to be – A Nurse. I think it’s a calling. It’s something that we are “called” to do. I can’t imagine myself doing any thing other than what I do.

  8. avatar
    Nikki White 30 July 2012 at 9:56 PM #

    I think nursing is definetly a profession. It has come a long way & many nurses are very well educated & have enough experience to take care of a patient without the doctor present. With that said there are many levels of nurses. Some that scare me that they even have a license & wonder how they got it, those that are caring & mean well but are mediocre, & the those that can ultimately function on autonomy & skill in any situation. I think the difference in education should be made between the level of accreditation a nurse receives. This is difficult in those who have much experience and initially little education & should be offered testing etc for changes to title. Nurses are expected to know so much & be so skillful how could anyone argue it’s not a profession?! I’ve had so many instances where residents or drs ask “What do think?” & then order what I say. Many times it is mostly what a nurse reports that ultimately outlines the pts care & outcome. We deserve to be called professionals for all the sweat, care, & hardwork we put in. Nurses are expected to be intelligent while still laboring physically by constantly lifting patients…. Not to mention be in 5 places at one time!!! NURSES ARE PROFESSIONALS & to be respected of so before every nurse gets disrespected, burned out, & leaves the profession…. I actually have been dating a dr for 6 months & he values my opinion on patients just as much as another dr. With that said him & I both acknowledge the major skill & intelligence level along different nurses.

  9. Profile photo of Melissa Alexander Dupre
    Melissa Dupre 3 August 2012 at 2:36 PM #

    Nursing is both. I think that you declare, or “profess” to be a nurse when identifying yourself as part of a group (same thing as professing your religion/beliefs). Nurses are part of the healthcare “profession”. I think you “occupy” a position in a specific setting.

    Nurses (as a group) consider each other to have a common thread that implies a belonging (Like Nurse’s Week). Where nurses differ is by their occupation in nursing (ER, OR, NICU, Administration, etc. Acute care, clinic, school, LPN, RN, NP etc.) So, I guess it really depends on how a person feels. If you love being a nurse, and feel that you share a common bond with all nurses regardless of specialty, it’s a profession. It’s just your occupation if the tasks/pay/benefits define the job for you. I think the general public would view nursing as a “profession”. They view nurses as one group, and don’t associate the differences between the “tasks” of the various nursing occupations.

  10. avatar
    Beth Buccaroni 6 August 2012 at 10:01 AM #

    Both for some it is a calling and for some it is an occupation they occupy space.

  11. avatar
    Jan Breaux 1 September 2012 at 7:55 AM #

    Nursing is a profession. We are constantly learning and adapting to new procedures,rules and regulations. We are required to obtain CEU’s to maintain our licensure. For many of us it’s a calling….for others who are not engaged and in it for only the money…it’s an occupation.

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