Definition of Nursing

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Definition of Nursing
Leslie Burgess
Submitted to Sarah P. Combs PhD, MPH, RN in partial fulfillment of NR444 Professional Role Development
Regis University
February 1, 2012

Nurses have been described as “lacking professional commitment and motivation, low in risk taking and change-making, having a ‘blue-collar mentality,’ being cautious and conservative, and suffering from lack of cohesiveness and collegiality” (as cited in Chandler, 1986, p.1). With this definition of what a nurse has been professed as, there is a fundamental responsibility to redefine and understand the purpose and characterization of todays nurse. Without a true clarity, respect and cohesiveness of peers and community cannot be stipulated. Gastmans (1998) states, “For nurses (both as individuals and as a professional group) it should be considered an ethical challenge to change the context of nursing practice from a stumbling block into a driving force” (p. 244). Creating a new identity ensures professional recognition and the appreciation of nursing competence and commitment to the patient’s well being (Gastmans). Description of Terms

Health
Health can be described as the absence of physical disease or pain. The etymology of the word ‘health’ also references prosperity, happiness, welfare, protection, and safety. True health is therefore holistic, including more than the freedom from disease or pain. Health is having a personal contentment, peace of mind and the ability to protect one’s own welfare. Environment

The word environment can have multiple inferences and yet all contexts describe a place where an individual lives or functions; a safe place. In the nursing realm, an environment that promotes healing and wellbeing is essential for a patient to feel safe. It can be suggested that nurses themselves can become a healing environment for the patient.

Patient
The term patient is used to describe an individual who is ill or injured and receiving care from a physician. However, for a nurse, the definition of a patient is more than just an individual seeking medical attention. A patient includes all individuals, families and communities who may be healthy or ill, seeking education, encouragement, management or support. Nurse

Merely thirty years ago, Chandler (1981) wrote that nurses have a “lack of cultural identity [which] leads nurses to devalue their own skills, to take few risks, and to have little faith in their own ability” (p.14). Today, nurses can be defined as those who, without discrimination of any difference, care for individuals, families and communities who are both healthy and ill in a holistic manner based on their specific needs. Nurses combine science, nursing theory, and technology in caring for those patients. Critical thinking and clinical judgment are central to their decision-making. The independence and confidence of the nurse, as well as the perception of empowerment, support the collegial aspects of nursing (Begât, 2005). Statement of Nurses personal and professional values

It may seem that personal and professional values are two separate categories. It can be argued, however, that these are two entities in the same realm. One could suggest that personal values are referring to one’s conscience while professional values refer to professional obligations. In any case, the altruistic basis of nursing can imply that they are one in the same, with professional values being more defined.

Personal values
Values are central to one’s thinking, decision-making and ultimately, actions and behavior. Core values are the things that are the most important aspects of what one believes and, therefore how others are treated. Honesty and integrity are personal core values that cannot be negotiated. Integrity is unconditional and absolute. Without it, no real success is possible. Self-attitude is the one thing that can be controlled in any circumstance. The understanding that another person’s...
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