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Nursing Definition Paper 1

Nursing Definition Paper

Chelsea Tramel

Northwestern State University


Theresa Kyzar RN, MSN, MBA

March 19, 2008

Nursing Definition Paper 2

Nursing Definition Paper


The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader of the author’s personal

definition of nursing, personal considerations regarding the mission of nursing, and personal

goals for the practice and contribution to nursing. The purpose of this paper is also to inform the

reader why nursing is a profession and about significant nursing theorists. It is to also inform the

reader how the concept of caring fits into nursing and about the authors personal experiences

contributing to their belief system about nursing.

My Personal Definition of Nursing

If there were to be a survey conducted in which random people, not in the medical field,

were asked their view point on the role of nursing, one comment that might be heard could be

they take care of people when they are sick. While this is true, nurses do much more than care

for sick. The International Council of Nurses says a definition should be made by national

nursing organizations. (RCN 2005) The Royal College of Nursing has come up with a definition

of nursing that was researched and evaluated for eighteen months. (RCN05) They noted a

definition of nursing is crucial in being able to control, fund, research, teach, or put into a policy

for the profession. (RCN05) RCN states,

Nursing is the use of clinical judgment in the provision of care to enable people to
improve, maintain or recover health to cope with health problems and to achieve the best
possible quality of life whatever their disease or disability, until death.

In my opinion nursing is a service in which competent care is provided to an individual,

group, or community in a safe ethical manner. It is the use of critical thinking and competent

nursing in the clinical setting in order to prevent or decrease disease or illness. Nursing is an

emotional support system; talking in a manner of therapeutic communication. The individual,

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group, or community must be educated on ways to reduce risk for illness and disease, as well as

manage it. Nursing is comforting the client and ensuring they will trust their care providers.

Why Nursing is a Profession

In the late eighteen hundreds the question was raised to have of a nurse become

registered with the state of Georgia. (Helmstadter 07) Nurses had not been recognized as a

profession and by having them registered it would establish nursing as a profession. Helmstadter

comments, Florence Nightingale, the frontier of nursing, protested against the idea of nurses

registering. She also acknowledges, she (Nightingale) felt nurses were not educated enough and

clinically competent to be established. Nightingale felt the state registration was too focused on

raising the nurses in a social since; the board wanted to exclude the working – class women and

only allow ladies to take part in the profession. (Helmstadter 07) She did not want nursing to

have a discredited reputation rather she wanted nursing to be looked at as competent people

working in the clinical setting, being well educated, and having the appropriate moral character

for their nursing practice.

In present day, nursing has overcome milestones from the earlier years. Nursing is

considered a profession today, because nursing experts have persevered and fought for the rights

of current nurses. It is a constant uphill battle for nurses to have some of the same rights as

doctors. In this time, advanced practice nurses (APNs) have prescriptive authorities, although

they are limited on some prescriptive rights. (OJIN 2007) In 1985, Dr. Haifdan Mahler,

Director General of the World Health Organization commented that if millions of nurses in a

thousand different places, come together as one force and speak of the same ideas and

convictions, than they could be a dominant force for change in the nursing community. He also

noted that he could see nurses around the world coming together to bring it about. (OJIN 2007)
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How the Concept of Caring Fits into Nursing

Caring is the base of nursing. Nursing includes empathetic caring which means

understanding how a person feels without sympathy being involved. One can not be taught how

to care, it is a gift and talent. (Hudacek 2008) There are seven components of caring in which

caring alone is one of the components. Compassion is an element of caring which goes beyond

hands on skills and involves an empathetic approach of alleviating pain and suffering. In order

to show compassion the nurse must be available emotionally and physically. Spirituality is a

sensitive topic for nurses and the patients they are caring for at any given time. Many people

have different beliefs and spiritual practices, and the nurse must appreciate their beliefs and

modify their practice to accommodate the patient. Nurses work with a variety of different

ethnicities; therefore community outreach is an astronomical importance in association with

caring. Nurses must educate and carryout health promotion throughout communities.

Providing comfort is another element of the seven steps of the caring model. Some

patients fight to stay alive and while nurses are witnesses to this, they must provide the most

circumspect comfort to all patients and their support groups. Crisis intervention and critical

thinking is the sixth element of caring. Hudacek notes, nurses speaking of experiences where in

critical care settings they needed to obtain visual clues and intuition that at times resulted in life-

saving opportunities. Going the extra distance is the final step in caring. Hudacek comments,

this step involves the nurses focusing on going to extraordinary methods to provide the best

possible care for patients. It acknowledges that some nurses outlined details of enormous giving

to help patients and their support groups to maneuver through difficult times.
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Personal Considerations Regarding the Mission of Nursing

The mission of nursing is to provide care for the community using the theories of nursing

to guide and direct their own beliefs, and the nursing standards stated by credited nursing

organizations such as, The American Nursing Association and The International Council of

Nursing, with ethical judgment. In 1893, Florence Nightingale’s mission statement for nursing


I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly:

To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from

whatever is deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any

harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession,

and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping, and all family affairs

coming to my knowledge in the practice of my profession. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the

physician in his work and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care. (QUAN


Shelly Cohen explains that today health care leaders realize having a mission statement does not

mean the employee will be able to apply the statement to their everyday care of patients. She

noted the statement should have direction and general goals of the organization. She then goes

on to comment that the leader of the organization should however encourage and support their

staff in understanding the direction of the statement. The author goes on to give different

example questions to ask the staff to ensure the higher management will be able to uphold the

organizations mission.
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My Personal Experiences Contributing to My Belief System about Nursing

Nurses should care about what they do, because if they do not it shows in their work, and

it reflects upon the patient. My aunt is a nurse in Texas who works at a high school. When

talking with her it is obvious that she truly loves her job and it brings joy to her life to be around

all those kids. By loving what she does and caring about the kind of health care she can provide

for those kids, it makes the kids feel more comfortable talking with her. They can see that she

cares and really wants to help them.

I believe nursing is an essential part of the healthcare industry. Nurses should have a

caring and compassionate nature. Their first priorities should always be the safety and well-

being of the patient. They should be competent enough to take care of and educate patients

about their conditions. When I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had to have

surgery, I stayed in the hospital for one night. I remember the nurses being very considerate and

helpful to my family. If my parents had any questions about what they should do to help me or

about my recovery, the nurses would kindly give them information. The nurses cared about their

jobs and one could tell they took it very seriously. They did everything in their power to make

me comfortable and be able to get on my feet as fast as possible.

Another experience contributing to my belief system about nursing is when I go

to my nurse practitioner to get my physical each year. I really enjoy going to her for health

problems, because I feel comfortable around her and can talk to her and ask questions. She is

able to answer my questions with ease and I can tell she knows what she is talking about. I have

asked her plenty of questions and not once have I been able to stump her, it seems she has an

answer for everything. I can also tell by her communication and attitude towards me that she
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truly cares about helping me; whether it be to feel better or educating me. My hope for the future

is that one day I can portray all of the qualities of these nurses through my practice.

Education and nursing coincide together. I have always enjoyed mentoring my peers on

topics I may better understand. Seeing their faces when they finally get it is very satisfying. My

mother has been in education for over twenty years and has instilled in me how valuable and

rewarding education can be. I feel more nurses should want to go back and teach. Why not care

enough to give back to the profession itself? When I become more experienced in the nursing

profession I would like to go back and teach. My opinion is, if I can teach patients how to take

medications that I only have knowledge about and no experience with taking, then I should be

able to teach students about something I have knowledge for and personal experience in as well.

By sharing my experiences with other students it would help them correlate different topics and

understand concepts better.

Significant Nursing Theorist

There are numerous different religions and belief systems world wide in today’s modern

time. Nurses in the United States experience people from several different belief systems. It is

this rising immigration rate into this country that calls for a desperate need for culturally

competent nurses. It is the nurse’s duty to adapt to these beliefs when caring for a patient.

Madeleine Leininger is the creator of the Transcultural Nursing Theory. This liberal humanistic

theory shows a way of thinking through social and human differences as well as race.

(Gustafson 2005)

Influences of culture are displayed by Lieninger’s Sunrise Model. Cutilli noted that

technology, religion, philosophy, kinship, values, beliefs, and lifeways are some of the factors in
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this model. She also exclaimed some other factors including politics, legal system, economics,

education, world view, social structure, healthcare traditions, and education. With this

information about a patients beliefs as well as information on home remedies and folk medicine

of the culture, Cutilli commented it helps the nurse to make wise decisions when it comes to the

patients care. She also noted Lieninger’s three outcomes to these factors which allow the nurse

to give consistent cultural care for health, well-being, or dying. These outcomes include,

providing cultural care that does not conflict with the patient, providing repatterning or the

reconstruction of the beliefs for effective cultural care, and providing care of cultural

accommodation or negotiation with the patient. Lieninger’s model and theory lead the nurse in

considering all aspects of cultural influence that may affect a patient’s care. (Cutilli 2006)

Virginia Henderson spoke of the mind and body as one inseparable entity. She felt that

nurses have a responsibility to the patient and not the doctor. She saw nursing as helping

individuals gain independence towards the activities and performances contributing to the health

or recovery of a patient. Hendersons formal definition of nursing was;

The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the

performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to

peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength,

will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain

independence as rapidly as possible

Tourville and Ingalls annotate that Henderson has four aspects of an individual and

fourteen areas of nursing care. The physical aspect includes areas such as breathing normally,

eat and drink adequately, clear body wastes, move to and maintain a desired position, sleep and

rest, select suitable clothing, maintain a normal body temperature, keep the body clean and well
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– groomed, and abstain from any dangers or injuries. The psychological aspect consists of

expressing emotions, needs, fears, or opinions while communicating with others. It also contains

the use of available health facilities and being able to learn, discover, or satisfy the curiosity that

leads to normal development and health. The spiritual aspect holds the area of worship

according to one’s faith. The last aspect Henderson covered is the sociological aspect which

contains the areas, work with a sense of accomplishment and play or participate in various forms

of recreation.

Helping the patient gain independence in doing daily activities and health exercises is not

only rewarding to the patient, but also is essential to nursing. Most people prefer to have the

capability of doing things on their own. To ask for someone to help them do an activity such as

taking a shower is often a depressant for the patient.

Personal Goals for the Practice and Contribution to Nursing

My goal as a nurse is to maintain professionalism at all times, advocate for the patient,

and care in the perception of Watson’s theory. I would also like to maintain therapeutic

communication with the patient and educate the client on health practices. Educating the client

is a very important goal; knowledge to me is the key to life. One cannot excel or lead in life

without having the will to learn. For example, a patient who listens to the nurse on how to take

birth control runs a lower risk of becoming pregnant than one that does not listen as well. This is

because the person that did not listen and take the advice of the nurse is more likely to misuse the

medication, because they do not know the proper way to take it.

My contributions to nursing will be to uphold the standards and ethics in a professional

manner. Also, I would like to become an advanced practice nurse. This will allow me to further
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my education and gain more knowledge and competency with my profession. Lastly, I do plan

on going back to teach.


In conclusion, nursing is the use of critical thinking in the clinical setting to prevent

illness and disease.

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