A sociological analysis of the extent and influence of professional socialization on the development of a nursing identity among nursing students at two universities in Brisbane, Australia


  • Denise du Toit DLitt et Phil (Sociology)

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    1. Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Rand Afrikaans University, Auckland Park, Transvaal, South Africa
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DrD du Toil, PO Box 51953, Wierda Park 0149, South Africa


Professions make extraordinary demands on its practitioners Professionals are required to master substantive theory and technical skills They also develop their own unique subcultures, demanding specific normative standards from their members, which are symbolized by professional ethical codes In the health professions, ethical codes include strong altruistic elements Professiona normative standards are learnt on a formal level (for example, at a university) and informal level (during the process of professional socialization and contact with the peer group, as well as informal sanctions) The transformation process of a novice to a professional is essentially an acculturation process during which the values, norms and symbols of the profession are internalized Acculturation can be so strong that it may cause personality transformation, which the French refer to as ‘deformation professionelle’, usually displayed by stereotypes, which are almost always exemplified by members of professions as ideal professionals, those who have internalized the profession's culture completely The question is, what is the extent of normative standards and professional characteristics that nursing students are exposed to during professional socialization, and to what extent are these standards and characteristics internalized so that a nursing ‘deformation professionelle’ develops9 A reliable Likert-type measurement scale was developed to measure this phenomenon One of the most important findings of this study was that students at both universities are highly professionally socialized