After a discussion of models of nursing, the author focuses on what nurses are and argues that their perceptions are significantly different from those of medical practitioners.
The commitment of nurses is discussed, debated and explored and some values shared between newly qualified nurses and the lay public.
Commitment is put into the perspective of ‘accountability’ and its effects on assessing quality of care and nurse-patient relationships are discussed.
The author also argues that in certain circumstances she would contemplate defecting from ‘being a nurse’, particularly with regards to her personal concern for the mentally disordered. But the message that pervades the paper is that once one is a nurse, one is a nurse forever.
Finally researchers are admonished to strive for ‘an elucidation of the nature of commitment’.