Bridging the gap: A comparison of the professional nursing values of students, new graduates, and seasoned professionals

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Given the significant and widespread changes in the health care system, generational diversity and the resulting differences in values present a challenge for the nursing profession. A three-group comparative design was used to compare the professional nursing values held by nursing students, new graduates, and seasoned practitioners, utilizing the Nursing Professional Values Scale (Weis & Schank, 2000) developed from the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. Findings revealed greater similarities than differences across the three groups; the notion that experience is necessary to develop professional values was not supported. Significant differences were seen across groups related to their knowledge regarding the code of ethics and its relevance to practice. Strategies to bridge the gap in value orientation between education and practice are offered as a means to strengthen professional commitment and maintain the viability of the profession.

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