What is nursing?

     Nursing may be defined as a process by which a patient is helped by a nurse to recover from an illness or injury or to
regain as much independence as possible.

  To be frank, much is involved in that process. It is more than just the performance of routine tests, such as checking the pulse, and the blood pressure. The nurse plays an integral role in the patient's recovery. Very proficient nurses are more concerned with the patient's overall reaction to the disorder than with the disorder itself, and are devoted to the control of physical pain, the relief of mental suffering and when possible the avoidance of complications. In addition the nurse offers understanding care which involved listening with patience to anxieties and fears and providing emotional support and
comfort. When a patient is dying the nurse's role is to help the patient meet death with as little distress and as much dignity
as possible. From the foregoing, it is very evident that nurses weave a tapestry of care, knowledge and trust that is critical to
patient's survival.

     A nurse can therefore be defined as a person who nourishes, fosters and protects.
    A person who is prepared to care for the sick, injured and aged. In its simplest form nursing goes back thousands of years.
    Throughout history many outstanding women have nursed
the sick. For example, Elizabeth of Hungary daughter of king
Andrew II organized food distribution during famine in 1226.
Thereafter she arranged for hospitals to be built, and there she cared for lepers, She died at a mere twenty-four years of age
having spent most of her short life caring for the sick.
It is difficult to speak of the history of nursing and not
mention Florence nightingale. With a group of thirty-eight nurses she reorganized the military hospital at scutari a
suburb of Constantinople, during the Crimean war of 1853-56. When she arrived there the mortality rate was nearly
sixty percent but when she left in 1856. It was less than two percent.
     Another strong influence on nursing was the institution of protestant deaconesses at Kaisers-werth, Germany, which
Nightingale had attended before going to the Crimean war.
     In time other outstanding nursing groups developed.
Agnes Karl in 1903 founded the professional organization for German nurses.

Today, nurses make up what is considered to be the largest professional group in our healthcare system. The world Health organization reports that currently there are well over nine million trained nurses and midwives.
Unselfishness, though essential, is not enough to make a proficient nurse. Good nurses also need extensive and a breath of experience. Requirement is from one and half to four years or more of study and practical training. In this article, several qualities of the good nurse were highlighted. A cross section of nurses interviewed in our environment
concerning the qualities of a good nurse were documented as following.

"The doctor heals, but the nurse cares for the patient.
This often requires building up patients that have been
damaged both inside and outside when for example, they
informed that they have an incurable disease or will face
imminent death. The nurses have to be a mother to the sick
    "It is necessary to be able to feel the pain and anguish
that the patient feels and to want to help. Kindness and
long suffering are needed. As a nurse you have to show warmth
you must be tolerant and show empathy"

    "A good nurse must be studious, observant and
extremely professioinal. If a nurse is not self-sacrificing if he
or she has a selfish streak or resents advice from others
higher up the medical hierarchy that nurse will become
unsuitable both for patients and for colleagues".
"Several qualities are indispensable : flexibility, tolerance
and patient. You also have to be open minded, with the ability to get on well with your colleagues and the medical hierarchy".
   "You have to be quick to assimilate new skills in Order to
remain efficient".
   "You must love people and really want to help others. You
have to be able to cope with stress because in the nursing
world it is all or nothing. You must be adaptable in order to do
the same work when at times you have fewer fellow workers
without compromising quality".
    These were the varying qualities given by the nurses.
What is surprising was that none of them frowns about
showing untoward attitude to the patient and his relations and
participating in unholy or unwholesome alliance to the
knowledge of all.

   Why are you a nurse (the joy of being a nurse) ?

The answer will depend on the persons field of nursing activity. Midwives
for example feel rewarded with every successful birth of one healthy child whose development you have supervised said
one midwife. One midwife said"a delivery is one of the most beautiful thing that a couple and a health worker can
experience. It is a miracle."
    Another forty year old nurse said"the satisfaction of having contributed to the success of an operation and of being
a member of a profession that is facilitating and constantly progressing is all that i need."Another nurse said"I am touched by the expression of thanks we receive from patients and their families especially in emergency situations when we
manage to recover a patient for whom we thought there was no hope."But along with the joy of nursing come many
challenges. There is no room for mistakes whether giving mediation or drawing blood or inserting an intravenous device
or even simply moving a patient, a nurse must be extremely careful. He or she cannot afford to slip up and this is true in
lands where litigation is common yet the nurse is placed in a difficult situation [For example, suppose the nurse feels that a
doctor has prescribed the wrong medication for a patient or

What can the nurse do? 

Challenge the doctor? That requires courage tact and diplomacy and it carries an element of risk. Sadly, some doctors do not take kindly to suggestions from
those they view as subordinates.

        What have some nurses noted in this regard?

  one staff nurse midwife of thirty four years said"A nurse must be courageous. First of all she is responsible for any
medication that she administers or treatments that she perform and for any harm caused by them. She must be able
to refuse to carry out an order from a doctor if she feels it is out of her scope of practice or if she believes that the order is
incorrect. Nursing is not what it was in the days of Florence 
Nightingale or even fifty years ago. Now the nurse needs to recognize when to say no to the physician and when to insist that the doctor see the parent, even if it is in the middle of the night and if you are wrong you must be thick-skinned enough to take any ridicle you night get from the doctor".

    However, many doctors and even none doctors appreciate the role of nurses in the hospital. Doctor also said "Good
nurses also teach doctors. The nurses in specialized wards like the intensive care unit are some of the best trained
professionals in the hospital. When I was a house officer they taught me how to put catheters and adjust ventilators.
They told me which medicines to avoid. Rarely do I respond faster than when a nurse I trust tells me I must see a patient
right away.

In June 1999, Dr Gro Harlem Brundland, directorgeneral
World Health Organization said,"Nurses, as the key health
professionals, are in a unique position to act as powerful advocates for a healthy planet. As nurses and midwives
already constitute up to eighty percent of the qualified health work force in most national health system they represent a
potentially powerful force for bringing about the necessary changes to meet the needs of Health for all in the twenty-first
century. Indeed their contribution to health services covers the whole spectrum of health care. It is clear that nurses are
the back bone of most healthy care teams."

    The former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de
Loon gave special praise to nurses of Mexico in a speech in which he said"Day after day all of you... Devote the best of
your knowledge, your solidarity, your service to preserving and restoring the health of Mexicans. Day after day, you take
to those who need it not only your professional help but also the comfort that comes from your kindly committed and
deeply humanitarian manner. You are the largest segment of our health institutions. In each life saved, in each child
vaccinated, in each assisted birth, in each health talk, in each care, in each patient who receives attention and solid support,
there is present the work of our nursing staff'




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