My Definition of Nursing


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I realized I wanted to be a nurse after I had my 2nd ACL surgery, my senior year of high school. I had to stay in the hospital 3 days in order to recover, and I was very lucky to have such a wonderful and caring nurse. She made me feel as if I was her only patient. I will never forget how well I was taken care of and how comfortable she made me feel. I was young and scared, but she was reassuring, because she made me feel as if I had my own mother taking care of me. She was the reason I wanted to become a nurse, because I wanted to make others feel the way she made me feel. My personal definition of nursing is encompassed within that one nurse. A nurse should be loving, compassionate, dependable, competent, empathic, responsible, joyful and comforting (just to name a few).

A nurse not only cares for the physical aspect of the patient but the mind and spirit as well. I believe a nurse should promote physical and emotional well-being. Nursing is more than just administering medications and performing different procedures; it is being with people, talking and visiting with them. I believe it is very beneficial to the patient to be treated as a human being rather than just “another patient”. It allows the patient to feel that the nurse truly cares about their well-being, and I believe that makes a difference in the patient’s recovery. When people have to be in the hospital or nursing home, they tend to feel very vulnerable and may sometimes feel ashamed or embarrassed. Some may not have any family or friends to visit them during their stay; this is the time for the nurse to be reassuring and make them feel comfortable. I believe that making a patient feel as comfortable as possible is one of the most important aspects of nursing care.

I think it makes a tremendous difference when nurses act joyful and happy around the patient. A patient notices when a nurse is having a bad day or is unhappy, and most patients do not want someone taking care of them that does not bring joy into the room. It is reassuring to the patient to know that the nurse enjoys caring for them. I believe nurses also need to show competency and confidence. It makes the patient feel at ease and relaxed to know that the nurse knows what to do.

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One thing that made me feel comfortable, when I was being cared for, is that I knew she was confident and competent in the care she was providing me.

I also believe nurses are professionals, and it is vital that nurses portray that role, no matter the circumstances. The nurse that cared for me acted very professional. Although she was funny and down to earth, she portrayed professionalism every time she was in my room. I knew she respected me, my friends and family and that made me respect her even more.

Sometimes nurses are not noticed as professionals. People often degrade or belittle the nurses’ role as a health care professional. Some may think nurses do all the “dirty work” or call it a “gross” profession. When I tell people I am going to be a nurse, some say that I am going to be “wiping bottoms all day”, or that they could never be a nurse, because all nurses do is take doctor’s orders. Others commend me and recognize that it is a difficult and noble profession.

In addition to these characteristics, nursing also involves critical thinking. “Critical thinking is the active, organized, cognitive process used to carefully examine one’s thinking and the thinking of others. It involves the use of the mind in forming conclusions, making decisions, drawing inferences, and reflecting” (Potter, 275). A nurse should be able to prioritize the needs of a patient and consider different options and alternatives to make decisions. When the nurse uses critical thinking toward understanding and caring for patients, the care becomes goal oriented (Potter, 275).

Nursing is complex and involves both art and science. Nurses take the scientific knowledge that is learned in schools and uses it in the clinical setting. Accredited nursing schools plan the curriculum based on the school’s definition of nursing. “Without the foundation of a definition, it would be impossible to know what to include and how to prioritize the incredible array of information nurses need to know” (Chitty, 185). I believe it is very important that all of the faculty know how they personally define nursing, in order to better educate the students. I think the Jeanette Rudy SON does a wonderful job in empathizing what they believe a nurse is and should be.

“Having an accepted definition of nursing is helpful in a variety of ways and provides a framework for nursing practice. It establishes the parameters of the profession, clarifies the purposes and functions of the work, guides the educational preparation of aspiring practitioners, guides nursing research and theory development, and makes the work of nursing visible and valuable to the public…” (Chitty, 184). There will never be one universal definition of nursing. People have their own personal definition of nursing; whether it is positive or negative. Nurses care for the whole individual, not just the disease. It is very important that nurses never lose sight of why they truly wanted to become a nurse; whether it was a dream since childhood, or an unforgettable experience. I believe it takes a special, passionate person to want to become part of a proud and honorable profession.

Works Cited

Chitty, K.K. (2001). Professional nursing concepts & challenges 3rd ed. St. Louis: Mosby.

Potter, Patricia A., and Anne G. Perry. Fundamentals of Nursing: Concept, Process, and Practice. 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 2000.


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