I believe that nursing is both a science and an art. It demands men and women who are not only dedicated to caring, but who are also intelligent, educated and devoted to lifelong learning. Nursing focuses on the individual patient or client and his or her needs, not only the needs of the body, but also the psychological, social and spiritual needs of the person. The nurse must address those needs and educate the individual and supply him or her with the skills and knowledge required to maintain or improve the person's state of health. Often the individual is unable to care for themselves at all in which case the nurse not only provides care, but also acts as an advocate for the patient. There are many elements at the core of nursing. Much of nursing requires technical knowledge and skill. A nurse must be able to use all of the technological resources at his or her disposal to provide an optimum environment for healing or maintaining health. A nurse must also have a good understanding of the structure and physiology of the human body, its response to disease, and the mechanisms of disease. This knowledge enables the professional nurse to understand the diagnosis and treatment of disease and ensure that proper treatment of disease is given. The nurse must also understand theories of nursing and other theories that apply to human beings. These theories provide a consistent framework within which the nurse can perform his or her duties. They also assist the nurse in assessing the patient's needs as a unique individual. Finally, there is at the core of nursing, a desire to provide patients with comfort, companion and an environment conducive to wellness. It may be as simple as holding a hand during an uncomfortable procedure or as complex as caring for a patient on complicated life support equipment. For these and all situations in between, the nurse must undertake these tasks not as mundane work, but as a calling to care for others.