What Do Nurses Do, Anyway?

If you’re a nurse, this is probably not going to come as a shock:

Students are in the dark about what a nursing career actually involves, according to a new poll to mark 100 years since the death of Florence Nightingale.

Many 18-year-olds are unaware that a nurse has the authority to give medicines to patients and can have prescribing powers.

The survey of 1,000 students from all academic backgrounds was carried out for the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London.

[snip]

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, head of the school, said: “It is a worry that many students do not fully understand what a career as a nurse involves. We need to challenge and update the image of nursing to tell it as it is – one of the greatest and most rewarding professions providing one of the most precious services to society – compassionate, high-calibre care delivered by outstanding people.”

It’s a good question, and on the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s death, probably one worthwhile asking ourselves: what exactly do we nurses do, anyway? What’s the point of nursing? Is it something that can be summarized in 25-words-or-less? How are we different in practice or in theory from the myriad of other health care professionals?

In short, what makes us unique? Or is our uniqueness a myth?

  1. #1 by jennjilks on Monday 16 August 2010 - 1303

    We are proud to have a Nurse Practitioner at our Family Health Team offices. She is fantastic. She prescribes, treats, and is very personable and human, but professional. I adore her and I am sad to be leaving the practice when we move. I believe there are only 9 of them. It is a great asset to the team that treats us.

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  2. What Do Nurses Do, Anyway? « Those Emergency Blues

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