This opening chapter aims to set the scene for your undergraduate nursing journey. We welcome you to the wonderful, dynamic and diverse profession of nursing and encourage some initial thinking about what nursing is, why you have chosen this career and the sort of nurse you hope to be. We also outline the purpose, structure and features of this book, and introduce you to the key concepts and ideas underpinning your learning journey, many of which will be emphasised and explored further in subsequent chapters.
As a society, we generally expect those working in professional roles to be 'professional', but this term is difficult to define. What does it actually mean to be professional? How can students develop their personal sense of self, and how might this interact with their professional identify and performance? This chapter explains self-awareness and the importance of understanding your own values, beliefs and motivations, which in turn will assist you to better understand the unique experiences and 'world-views' of others, and to develop and nurture the therapeutic and professional relationships that are essential for successful nursing practice.