Nursing as an Occupation
Works Cited Not Included
Nursing has, quite possibly, been one of the most difficult professions to define in the medical field. Clarke (2003) stated that the nurse needs to `articulate' who s/he is and what his/her `value' is in medicine or risks having others define it. As with the profession itself, definitions of nursing are ."..dynamic...constantly evolving to meet new needs...new knowledge."(Royal College of Nursing, 2003). Down through the years as the role of the nurse has expanded and diversified, so have the opinions of those who respect and view this career with intrigue. The author believes that nursing is and the functions of the nurse are: the "provision of care", a "commitment to partnership" between nurse and client (Royal College of Nursing, 2003), health promotion and the use of skill and biological knowledge in patient care.
The provision of care as a basis for nursing has also encountered change ever since Florence Nightingale (1889), perceived that "the patient, rather than the disease process, should be the primary focus of health professionals." (Cited in Lindberg, Hunter, Kruszewski, 1998 p.12). Virginia Henderson (1960) described caring as "assisting persons in performance of activities they would accomplish independently given the necessary resources." (cited in Lindberg, Hunter and Kruszewski, 1998 p.12). Thus, both pioneers of nursing thought that the best way to carry out nursing practice is to undertake patient centered care. Patient centered care is "essential care, technological care, psychosocial/emotional care, and continuity and co-ordination." (Kitson, 1999). This is called holistic care, which focuses on all aspects of the client's being as a whole: the physiological, psychosocial, social, cultural and spiritual needs. As one perceives caring to be a major component of nursing, nurses carry out the elements of essential patient centered care in the following ways; "feeding, washing, toileting, sleep and rest, ensuring dignity and privacy..." (Kitson, 1999). However, in order to carry out care in nursing, as well as having the educated technical skill, the nurse must also have high standards of certain characteristics. Poulin (1987) declared, ."..The professionalism of nursing will be tested by its degree to its caring function." (cited in Lindberg, Hunter and Kruszewski, 1998 p.20). In 1986, Leiniger wrote that the client could become degraded and feels treated as an object by the use of mechanical therapies. She stressed that clients need quality care from humans and that the nurse requires the character traits to carry out this function such as: comfort, compassion, concern, helping behaviour, love, support, touching and trust. (cited in Lindberg, Hunter, Kruszewski, 1998, p.20).
Commitment to partnership is of major importance in nursing. The relationship between the nurse and the client reflects dedication to ensuring the overall well being of the client and, thus, the...