Becoming professional by degrees: A grounded theory study of nurses in Malaysian Borneo

Melanie Birks, Ysanne Chapman, Karen Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Professionalism is an essential and expected trait that nurses in all areas and at all levels of practice should possess. Development of a professional identity does not happen by chance but is reliant on a number of factors that combine to imbue professional characteristics within the nurse. Education is recognised as a crucial element in professional identity development for nurses. Post-registration degree courses are an important means by which registered nurses can access tertiary education in order to further develop as professionals. This paper describes the process of becoming professional for registered nurses in Malaysian Borneo who undertook baccalaureate studies through an off-campus course. As part of a larger grounded theory study, the findings presented here explain the process of becoming professional as experienced by these nurses. The various dimensions of self, nurse and professional were fused through this process, ensuring that the outcomes of degree study were significant and empowering. The findings of this research demonstrate that post-registration baccalaureate nursing studies are an effective means by which professional identity development can be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalSingapore Nursing Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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