Concepts of professionalism The claim by many occupations to professional status has resulted from lack of precision of definition. The characteristics discussed are those which most writers agree are possessed by professionals and include knowledge, authority for action, community sanction, control and the development of a sub-culture. Nursing as an occupation is viewed in the light of these characteristics and found wanting. However, one equally important measurement may be that of the attitudes displayed by the members of an occupation and, if these are considered, nursing may be seen to be nearer to the ideal type. The main problem may be that the term‘nurse’in the United Kingdom includes a wide range of practitioners.