OBJECTIVE: To make predictions about the influence of intrapersonal characteristics of professional nurses’ on their work performance and caring behaviours in order to improve the understanding of practitioners’ own influence on their delivery of care.
METHODS: A quantitative, cross-sectional survey, predictive correlation model-testing design was used for this study. Data analysis was done with SPSS 21, AMOS and SAS.
RESULTS: The professional values of professional nurses were the only selected intrapersonal characteristic with a statistically significant (positive) relationship of practical importance with nurses’ work performance and caring behaviours. While some of the other selected intrapersonal characteristics had statistically significant relationships, effect sizes were small making it not practically important. If nurses have high professional values as measured with the Nurses’ Professional Values Scale - Revised (NPVS-R), NPVS-R as predictor for work performance as measured with the Six-Dimension Scale of Nursing Practice (6-DSNP) is two to three times that of any other predictor that can be added to the equation on a 10% level of significance.
CONCLUSION: Professional values influence the work performance and caring behaviours of nurses. Professional values can be developed in the classroom and through experience indicating that in service education or continuous professional development for nurses working in clinical services should not only concentrate on updating clinical skills, but should also provide opportunities to reflect and strengthen professional values. Recommendations are provided for professional nurses, practice, education, management and research.