5 Steps to Achieve Professionalism

When an individual is preparing for a job interview or a meeting with a person or group of people from upper management, they tend to show great professionalism to those individuals at that time. But people do not always practice it on a daily basis within their workplace.

Professionalism can be shown in many different ways including dressing appropriately, showing respect towards others, and not shying away from learning experiences. The following five steps to becoming a professional can be simple and make a great impact on that person’s image:


Look the part. A professional should always dress appropriately for her position because a person’s image lets people know how serious they are about their work. Practicing proper hygiene is a step that includes having hair managed, fingernails clipped, and avoiding heavy colognes or perfumes. WHO and CDC have different requirement for artificial nails in that the WHO does not allow artificial nails and nail extenders, but the CDC’s guidelines require only providers within high risk areas to not have artificial nails.1 The requirements for artificial nails and fingernail lengths will depend on which organization’s guidelines your facility follows.

Perfumes and colognes should be avoided at all times because strong scents can cause a physical reaction in a person with asthma or allergies. Non-scented soaps and shampoo should also be used.

Grammar is essential. The use of proper grammar should be practiced in memos, e-mails, or procedures. Communicating to coworkers, physicians, and patients by writing notes or messages is becoming more common, and not using proper grammar can make frustate or confuse the recipient of the note.

Departments also run much smoother when the procedures are well written and easy to follow.

Proper grammar should also be used when communicating verbally because using slang or improper grammar can undermine the confidence coworkers and patients have in your abilities.

Tasks and challenges should be approached head on. Individuals who want to show professionalism accept tasks because they want to succeed and grow within their fields.They should embrace education opportunities and use these techniques the learn to educate others.

Show respect towards others. People that show respect towards others are themselves more approachable which is important when people are seeking guidance. Hospitals are generally broken up into sections and can be compared to a machine. When each section performs their role properly, then the whole machine works smoothly and better patient outcomes are produced.

Respecting others may be a hard phase of professionalism for some in that people have different opinions about issues, but the main goal clinicians should strive toward is producing quality results for patients.

Accepting accountability for mishaps or mistakes. Professionals hold themselves accountable for their own mistakes. Many hospitals use a barcode system to cut down on human error, but there is always going to be some error that occurs. An individual that possesses professionalism learns and grows from their mistakes to make a more cautious employee.

In conclusion, professionalism should be practiced on a daily basis so people have confidence and respect for you and your work. Respiratory and sleep professionals can use these five steps to evaluate the amount of professionalism they use at their work places.

The professionalism shown at work should also be practiced in your personal life because people do take note of how people act in public. Professionalism is usually always noticed by your peers and that is the type of publicity that everyone should want.

Cara Jansa is generalist, Hendrick Medical Center, Abilene, TX. Wade Redman is an assistant professor, Texas Tech University School of Allied Health Sciences, Lubbock, TX.


  1. The Joint Commission. Hand hygiene. Available at: http://www.jointcommission.org/standards_information/jcfaqdetails.aspx?StandardsFaqId=188&ProgramId=1. Last accessed July 5, 2011.

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