Nursing Career News

A study done by the U.S. Bureau of Health Professions indicates that by 2020, the U.S. nursing shortage will grow to more than 800,000 registered nurses. How can we put a serious dent in stemming this dangerous tide unless nurses take an active role in seeking possible solutions to the problem? This blog will attempt to openly discuss and address major issues confronting the nursing profession, health care issues, and nursing education.

Friday, June 23, 2006

What is Nursing?

Despite having practiced nursing for more than twenty years now across a range of clinical settings and specialty practice areas I’m not sure that I have the writing skills necessary to clearly define the Nursing profession, or “Nurse”, but during the course of my travels through various “nursing information” sites springing up across the web I frequently come across articles that define the nursing profession in such ridiculous terms that I knew I had to say something to try to clear up misconceptions about what nursing is, and what nurses are.

Here’s an excerpt of one such article:

“In hospitals, nurses are the limbs while doctors are the eyes and brains. Neither can work without the other's presence. Without doctors, the patient's diagnosis would not be delivered whereas without nurses, the medical treatment and other services would be put to a halt. Nurses conduct every form of activity from seemingly minor needs like changing the bed sheets and fixing meals, to drawing blood and handling medical equipment and machinery. Nevertheless, nurses are not authorized to do any of these tasks without a doctor's approval.” Source: The Differences Between a Nurse and a Doctor

“Nurses are the limbs while doctors are the eyes and brains”
Despite such ignorant statements, nurses are not mute “doctor’s handmaidens” or “helpers”. Neither are they mere “Nancy Do Gooders”, “Angels of Mercy”, dumb bimbos, sex toys for residents, or servants who perform a plethora of menial tasks “after getting approval from a doctor”.

What is Nursing?
Nursing is a self-governing scientific healthcare discipline practiced by professionals who have received between two to ten years of formal university education taught by nurse educators prepared at the Master’s or Doctoral level, successfully passed state board of nursing examinations, and in many cases have additional education and certification in specialty areas of nursing practice.

Nursing is a distinct and autonomous healthcare profession with its own unique standards of practice, scope of practice, and professional organizations that practices in collaboration with the Medical profession in addition to the Allied Health Professions as part of the health care team. While nurses do ensure that medical orders are implemented and coordinated they do not need a “doctor’s approval” to coordinate or implement all aspects of patient care, neither is nursing a subset of or subservient to physicians.

Nurses certainly do not need permission from doctors in order to ensure patients rooms are clean, patients hygiene has been attended to, or other such tasks. Nurses do not “fix patient’s meals” but nurses do ensure that patients receive the proper nutrition as determined by their medical condition, treatment plan, planned tests, and other factors. Nurses also coordinate and arrange for consultations with dieticians as needed, ensure the patient receives the correct meal, monitor the patients ability to take nutrition, or lack thereof, their tolerance to their nutritional intake, output levels, make adjustments as they deem necessary in the patient’s nursing care as they deem necessary based upon nursing assessment, and inform the patient’s physician of any significant changes in the patient’s condition based upon their objective scientific nursing assessments so that the physician will be able to adjust medical treatment plans as needed.

Although nurses and physicians collaborate as members of the health care team, nurses do not work “for” physicians. Nurses typically are hired, fired and managed by other nurses.

There will be more on this subject to be sure as I run across other idiotic portrayals of nursing online. Feel free to add to it! Give me your comments!


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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Online Nursing Degree Resources

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