The Magnitude of Nursing
Nursing has evolved tremendously over time. In the past, there was no formal nursing education, unsanitary working conditions, and little, if any, patient confidentiality. Since then, there has been major technology advancement, institution of highly accredited nursing programs, individualization of patient care, regulation of environmental factors in hospital settings, and enforcement of confidentiality laws. Along with the changing career field, nurses have also progressed. Nurses are now held at a high standard of professionalism, knowledge, and skill level, whereas in the past, they were perceived as incompetent. For example in Charles Dickens’ novel Martin Chuzzlewit, the character Sairey Gamp was a nurse who was described as unprofessional, unsanitary, undertrained, and generally drunk. The Sairey Gamp character goes against many standards nurses are held to today and demonstrates how the perception of nursing has transformed to where it is today. (D. Hatteberg, class notes, September 11, 2015)
When I contemplating the complexity of their job, nurses are prepared to assist in the beginning of life, the end of life, and all days in between, which is truly remarkable. Nurses are highly-trained, knowledgeable, and skilled in many departments. To a typical individual, a nurse’s skill set merely focuses on the distribution of medicine, but in reality, they are skilled in many other ways. Since I began working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) three years ago, my definition of nursing has expanded immensely. Nursing is not only the distributing of medicine, but also acting as family when a patient’s family cannot, listening to a voice that just needs to be heard, being compassionate in order to und...
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...advocate for my patients to ensure their needs are met and to improve their physical and mental well-being.
Nursing has made an incredible transformation since the beginning days of nursing. It is hard to fathom the conditions that nursing dealt with years ago due to how far we have come. The patient-centered care and technology advances that hospitals are now implementing has drastically changed the hospital experience for patients and the care that they are given. Nursing school, along with experience in my CNA job and hospital visits, has helped me realize the nurse I want to be and the characteristics I need. It has also helped me gain appreciation for all nurses. Leaders like Florence Nightingale have inspired me not only be a great nurse, but to also be an advocate for my patients because as Donna Wilk Cardillo once said, “Nurses are the heart of healthcare.”
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