Nursing is a profession focused on assisting individuals, families, and communities in attaining, maintaining, and recovering optimal health and functioning. Modern definitions of nursing define it as a science and an art that focuses on promoting quality of life as defined by persons and families, throughout their life experiences from birth to care at the end of life.
Nursing comes in various forms in every culture, although the definition of the term and the practice of nursing has changed greatly over time. The oldest sense of the word in the English language a woman employed to suckle and/or generally care for a younger child. The former being known as a wet nurse and the latter being known as a dry nurse. In the 15th century, this developed into the idea of looking after or advising another, not necessarily meaning a woman looking after a child. 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. The religious and military roots of modern nursing remain in evidence today in many countries. For example: in Britain, senior female nurses are known as ‘‘sisters’’. It was during time of war that a significant development in nursing history arose when 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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 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. ($30,000-$50,000/yr base). Registered nurses may also earn additional credentials or degrees enabling them to work under different titles such as:
There is no profession which offers as many opportunities for diversified roles as does nursing. 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. Within the hospital setting, nurses may work in areas including:
39% - Offices of physicians
39% - Home health care services
34% - Outpatient care centers, except mental health and substance abuse
27% - Employment services
22% - General medical and surgical hospitals, public and private
20% - Nursing care facilities
The nurse demand has intersected with job recruitment and job search improvements, now available through internet employment tools, such as nursing job boards. These web sites help to automate the job search and job posting capabilities for industry candidates and employers. Some job boards, like www.NursingJobBank.com www.NursingPost.net and www.nursing-jobs.usspecialize in nursing jobs. Other, such as www.indeed.com, are general job sites that cover jobs for multiple industries.
Most of the available web sites function under a model that offers free use for nursing position job seekers. Also, most provide the ability to filter searches geographically and by job type.
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.
The major divisions are:-