Home Healthcare Articles Nursing
Nursing is a discipline focused on assisting
individuals, families and communities in attaining, re-attaining
and maintaining optimal health and functioning. Modern definitions
of nursing define it as a science and an art that focuses on
quality of life as defined by persons and families. Nursing
is not only concerned about health and functioning but with
quality of living and dying, lived experience, and universal
lived experiences of health.
Like other maturing disciplines, nursing has
developed different theories that are aligned with diverging
philosophical beliefs and paradigms or worldviews. Nursing theories
help nurses to direct their activities in order to accomplish
specific goals with people. Nursing is a knowledge based discipline
committed to the betterment of humankind.
A nurse practices nursing as a profession.
There are a number of educational paths to becoming a professional
nurse and in many countries, nursing practice is regulated by
law. Advanced practice nurses include nurses with advanced education,
generally at the graduate school level. Advanced practice nurses
include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified
nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. There also are nurse
researchers who have PhDs in nursing or other fields and study
human responses to health and illness in many settings. There
are other nurses with PhDs who practice with persons who are
changing their health patterns. Nurses help people figure out
what they need to go on, what they see as possible, how they
want to change, how they can move toward their hopes and dreams.
Nurses acknowledge that the nursing profession
is an essential part of the society from which it has grown.
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. The American
Nurses' Association (1980) has defined nursing as "the
diagnosis and treatment of human responses to actual or potential
health problems." Just as medical diagnoses help in the
planning, implementing, and evaluation of medical care, Nursing
diagnoses help in the planning, implementing, and evaluation
of nursing care.
Nurses practice in a wide range of settings
from hospital to visiting people in their homes and caring for
them in schools to research. Nursing is the most diverse of
all healthcare professions. It is a universal phenomenon appearing
in some form in every culture.