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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nursing is a healthcare profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from birth to death.

Nurses work in a large variety of specialties where they work independently and as part of a team to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care.


History of nursing

Florence Nightingale, "Lady with the Lamp", pioneer of modern nursing

Nursing comes in various forms in every culture, although the definition of the term and the practice of nursing has being known as a wet nurse and the latter being known as a dry nurse.[1] In the 15th century, this developed into the idea of looking after or advising another, not necessarily meaning a woman looking after a child.[1] Nursing has continued to develop in this latter sense, although the idea of nourishing in the broadest sense refers in modern nursing to promoting quality of life.

Prior to the foundation of modern nursing, nuns and the military often provided nursing-like services.[2] The religious and military roots of modern nursing remain in evidence today in many countries, for example in the United Kingdom, senior female nurses are known as ‘‘sisters’’. It was during time of war that a significant development in nursing history arose when English nurse Florence Nightingale, working to improve conditions of soldiers in the Crimean War, laid the foundation stone of professional nursing with the principles summarised in the book Notes on Nursing. Other important nurses in the development of the profession include: Mary Seacole, who also worked as a nurse in the Crimea; Agnes Elizabeth Jones and Linda Richards, who established quality nursing schools in the USA and Japan, and Linda Richards who was officially America's first trained nurse, graduating in 1873 from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston.

A U.S. Navy recruiting poster from World War II, showing a Naval nurse with a hospital ship.

New Zealand was the first country to regulate nurses nationally, with adoption of the Nurses Registration Act on the 12th of September, 1901. Ellen Dougherty was the first registered nurse. North Carolina was the first state in the United States to pass a nursing licensure law in 1903.[3]

Nurses have experienced difficulty with the hierarchy in medicine that has resulted in an impression that nurses primary purpose is to follow the direction of medics.[4] This tendency is certainly not observed in Nightingale's Notes on Nursing, where the doctors are mentioned relatively infrequently and often in critical tones, particularly relating to bedside manner.[5]

The modern era has seen the development of nursing degrees and nursing has numerous journals to broaden the knowledge base of the profession. Nurses are often in key management roles within health services and hold research posts at universities.

Nursing as a profession

The authority for the practice of nursing is based upon a social contract that delineates professional rights and responsibilities as well as mechanisms for public accountability. In almost all countries, nursing practice is defined and governed by law, and entrance to the profession is regulated at national or state level.

The aim of the nursing community worldwide is for its professionals to ensure quality care for all, while maintaining their credentials, code of ethics, standards, and competencies, and continuing their education.[6] There are a number of educational paths to becoming a professional nurse, which vary greatly worldwide, but all involve extensive study of nursing theory and practice and training in clinical skills.

Nurses care for individuals who are healthy and ill, of all ages 99 and cultural backgrounds, and who have physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs. The profession combines physical science, social science, nursing theory, and technology in caring for those individuals.

In order to work in the nursing profession, all nurses hold one or more credentials depending on their scope of practice and education. A Licensed practical nurse (LPN) (also referred to as a Licensed vocational nurse, Registered practical nurse, Enrolled nurse, and State enrolled nurse) works under a Registered nurse. A Registered nurse (RN) provides scientific, psychological, and technological knowledge in the care of patients and families in many health care settings. Registered nurses may also earn additional credentials or degrees enabling them to work under different titles.

Nurses may follow their personal and professional interests by working with any group of people, in any setting, at any time. Some nurses follow the traditional role of working in a hospital setting.

Nursing practice

Nursing practice is primarily the caring relationship between the nurse and the person in their care. In providing nursing care, nurses are implementing the nursing care plan, which is based on a nursing assessment.



Although nursing practice varies both through its various specialities and countries, these nursing organizations offer the following definitions:

Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people. Advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles.

International Council of Nurses [6]

The use of clinical judgement in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability, until death."

Royal College of Nursing UK [7]

Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human responses; and advocacy in health care for individuals, families, communities, and populations.

American Nurses Association[8]

The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge.

Virginia Avenel Henderson[9]

Nursing theory and process

In general terms, the nursing process is the method used to assess and diagnose needs, plan and implement interventions, and evaluate the outcomes of the care provided. Like other disciplines, the profession has developed different theories derived from sometimes diverse philosophical beliefs and paradigms or worldviews to help nurses direct their activities to accomplish specific goals. Currently, two paradigms exist in nursing, the totality paradigm and the simultaneity paradigm.

Practice settings

Nurses practice in a wide range of settings, from hospitals to visiting people in their homes and caring for them in schools to research in pharmaceutical companies. Nurses work in occupational health settings (also called industrial health settings), free-standing clinics and physician offices, nurse-run clinics, long-term care facilities and camps. They also work on cruise ships and in military service. Nurses act as advisers and consultants to the health care and insurance industries. Some are attorneys and others work with attorneys as legal nurse consultants, reviewing patient records to assure that adequate care was provided and testifying in court. Nurses can work on a temporary basis, which involves doing shifts without a contact in a variety of settings, sometimes known as per diem nursing, agency nursing or travel nursing. Nurses work as researchers in laboratories, universities and research institutions.

Work Environment

Internationally, there is a serious shortage of nurses.[10] One reason for this shortage is due to the work environment in which nurses practice. In a recent review of the empirical human factors and ergonomic literature specific to nursing performance, nurses were found to work in generally poor environmental conditions. DeLucia, Ott, & Palmieri (2009) concluded, "the profession of nursing as a whole is overloaded because there is a nursing shortage. Individual nurses are overloaded. They are overloaded by the number of patients they oversee. They are overloaded by the number of tasks they perform. They work under cognitive overload, engaging in multitasking and encountering frequent interruptions. They work under perceptual overload due to medical devices that do not meet perceptual requirements (Morrow et al., 2005), insufficient lighting, illegible handwriting, and poor labeling designs. They work under physical overload due to long work hours and patient handling demands which leads to a high incidence of MSDs. In short, the nursing work system often exceeds the limits and capabilities of human performance. HF/E research should be conducted to determine how these overloads can be reduced and how the limits and capabilities of performance can be accommodated. Ironically, the literature shows that there are studies to determine whether nurses can effectively perform tasks ordinarily performed by physicians. Results indicate that nurses can perform such tasks effectively. Nevertheless, already overloaded nurses should not be given more tasks to perform. When reducing the overload, it should be kept in mind that underloads also can be detrimental to performance (Mackworth, 1948). Considering both overloads and underloads are important to consider for improving performance." [11]

Regulation of practice

The practice of nursing is governed by laws that define a scope of practice, generally mandated by the legislature of the political division within which the nurse practices. Nurses are held legally responsible and accountable for their practice. The standard of care is that of the "prudent nurse."

Nursing specialties

Nursing is the most diverse of all healthcare professions. Nurses practice in a wide range of settings but generally nursing is divided depending on the needs of the person being nursed.

The major divisions are:-

There are also specialist areas such as cardiac nursing, orthopedic nursing, palliative care, perioperative nursing and oncology nursing, or the specialization to cancer.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Nurse". The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition. 10. Oxford University Press. 1989. pp. p603–604. ISBN 0198611862. 
  2. ^ Florence Nightingale (1820 — 1910)
  3. ^ UNC-TV Nursing Then and Now Retrieved July 2009
  4. ^ Radcliffe, Mark (2000). "Doctors and nurses: new game, same result". British Medical Journal 320 (1085): 1085. doi:10.1136/bmj.320.7241.1085. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  5. ^ Nightingale, Florence (1860) Notes on Nursing Full text online Accessed 14 August 2007
  6. ^ a b International Council of Nurses Accessed August 2007
  7. ^ RCN (2003) Defining nursing Retrieved April 2007
  8. ^ ANA Considering Nursing Retrieved July 2009
  9. ^ Contemporary Nurse Virginia Henderson Retrieved July 2009
  10. ^ BMJ (2002) Global Nursing Shortages Retrieved July 2009
  11. ^ DeLucia, P. R., Ott, T. E., & Palmieri, P. A. (in press). "Performance in nursing". Reviews in Human Factors and Ergonomics (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society) 5. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Nurse uniform ed.JPG

Nursing is a healthcare profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from birth to the end of life.


  • Bound by paperwork, short on hands, sleep, and energy... nurses are rarely short on caring.
    • Sharon Hudacek, "A Daybook for Nurses"
  • Save one life... and you are a hero. Save one hundred lives... and you are a nurse.
    • Chuck Stepanek, "Nursing the Corn"
  • A hero is someone who happened to be in the right circumstances and took the action of great humanity. A nurse is someone who took the action of great humanity and chose to be in the right circumstances.
    • Chuck Stepanek, "Nursing the Corn"


  • In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to School:Nursing article)

From Wikiversity

Wikipedia School of Nursing

Education Across the Lifespan

Henriette Browne Mutter Kind.jpg

Beginning a nursing education in most universities requires the successful compeltion of prerequisite survey courses in Anatomy & Physiology, Basic and Organic Chemistry, Pharmacology, Sociology, Psychology, Composition, Nutrition, Microbiology, and Mathematics. A basic knowledge of these areas will be assumed in the nursing learning materials. If you would like to refresh your knowledge in these areas at any time, then you may follow the link entitled, "Pre-Nursing:Prerequisite Knowledge".


Divisions and Departments

Active participants

The histories of Wikiversity pages indicate who the active participants are. If you are an active participant in this school, you can list your name here (this can help small schools grow and the participants communicate better; for large schools it is not needed).

  • Wkc3
  • Shalni
  • California State University, Sacramento (CSUS)
  • Irone2
  • Thayk

School news

  • Febuary 6, 2008 - School founded!

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Database error article)

From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

The Opensource Handbook of Nursing

Florence Nightengale

Nursing is the art and science of helping individuals attain health. It is a holistic discipline with its own body of scientific knowledge, distinct from medicine. At the most basic levels, laypeople give nursing care to sick relatives at home by simply watching their condition and promoting their recovery. In more advanced settings, university and college-prepared Registerd Nurses perform physical assessments of individuals who are acutely and critically ill. Nurses work alongside physicians to administer physician-ordered treatments while using nursing judgement and collaboration with interdisciplinary team members to provide the best evidence based care. At the highest levels of nursing practice, Nurse Practicioners may act as primary health care providers, even writing prescriptions in some states.

Registered and Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses are found in hospitals, physician's offices, rehabilitation centers, and many other settings. In the United States, Nurses practice according to the Nurse Practice Act of their state and the regulations and protocols of the institution in which they work.

Simple English

Nursing is a job focused on helping people's health.

History of nursing

In Greece, hundreds of years ago, sick people went to temples, where men and women helped them. They made medicines from flowers and other things. In the fifth century BC, about 24000 years ago, one of the Greeks, Hippocrates, was very interested about why people became ill. He wrote over 70 books, and was one of the first people in the world to study healthcare. This is why he is often called the "father of Western medicine".[1]

Religion was also important in the history of nursing. Jesus Christ taught that sick people should be helped.[2] In the Middle Ages, the Christian church opened more hospitals. The Muslims opened some in Baghdad and Damascus too. Muslim hospitals helped people from any country or religion.[2]


  1. "Useful known and unknown views of the father of modern medicine". Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Davies, Paul A. (2002) (in English). Nursing. Hong Kong: Oxfor University Press. ISBN 0-19-423293-X. 


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