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 personsand families. Nursing is not only concerned about health and functioning but with quality of living and dying , lived experience, and universal lived experiences ofhealth.
Like other maturing disciplines, nursing has developed different theories that are aligned with diverging philosophicalbeliefs and paradigms or worldviews . Nursing theories help nurses to direct their activities in order to accomplish specific goals withpeople. 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 becominga professional nurse and in many countries, nursing practice is regulated by law. Advanced practice nurses include nurses withadvanced education, generally at the graduate school level. Therealso are some nurse researchers who have PhDs in nursing orother fields and study human responses to health and illness in many settings. There are other nurses with PhDs who practice withpersons 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 forthe practice of nursing is based upon a social contract that delineates professional rights and responsibilities as well asmechanisms for public accountability. The American Nurses' Association (1980) has defined nursing as "the diagnosis andtreatment 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 intheir homes . Nursing is the most diverse of all healthcare professions. It is a universalphenomenon appearing in some form in every culture.
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