Sometimes it’s easy to think that physicians are the primary caregivers at a hospital or maybe even that nursing is not manual labor. Nursing most certainly is a noble profession, many public surveys demonstrate that nurses are one of the most trustworthy professionals in society. The public face of nursing may be that of Florence Nightingale but it often involves not too glamorous care for those in need. If a patient cannot clean themselves or is otherwise unable to move, the care that patient needs may literally be all of the personal hygiene we generally take for granted that we can do for ourselves. Even the simple act of moving yourself can be lost and for a small nurse to help a large grown man to do nothing more than sitting up can be an exercise pushing the very limits of the nurses strength. In a hospital setting, almost all care to patients is given by the nurses and nursing assistants. The physicians will diagnose and prescribe the treatment which outside of surgery is almost exclusively delivered by the nurses and nursing aids. The various settings requiring licensed nurses can go well beyond the hospitals and doctors’ offices, they range from home health care and military duty to prisons and schools.
Nurses must start with nursing school which has its own list of rather strict prerequisites which include, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and many others. Without both a strong High School education with AP classes and/or dual credit college courses, just the prerequisites for nursing school could take a year or more. Even with the prerequisites complete, admission into nursing school is not guaranteed as the entrance exam known as the TEAS must first be passed with a sufficiently high score. Once in nursing school, the nurse candidate must pass 1.5 years of full time nursing school (3 semesters) before they are eligible to sit for the national exam to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Another semester is then required to be passed in nursing school for the nurse candidate to be eligible to sit for the registered nurse (RN) national exam to obtain a license to practice nursing.
Advanced nursing practice can be obtained with additional education and experience beyond the bachelors of nursing degree (BSN). A BSN itself would have to be obtained after the Associates of Applied Science degree obtained at the NMJC should a nurse choose to go that route. Advanced nursing practices include becoming a certified nurse midwife, a clinical nurse specialist, registered nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner (or even a masters in nursing education). A nurse practitioner can provide primary health care services including diagnosis, prescriptions and treating minor illness and injury.
According to the American Nurses Association, the technical portion of nursing can be summarized in 5 steps; assessment, diagnosis, outcomes/planning, implementation and then evaluation. The assessment includes all physiological, psychological and even spiritual, socio-economical and life-style factors, this is called holistic care. The diagnosis includes pain severity and direct patient needs which will be used by the nurse in writing the patients care plan. The outcomes/planning portion involves setting the goals for such things as physical activity, food volume and pain management. The implementation and evaluation cover the formal patient care and continual evaluation of the care plan for each patient.
Nurses assist bringing life into the world and will hold the hand of one leaving it. They care not only for all the needs of the patient but also those of their family members and will advocate, mediate and listen as appropriate. They are trained to listen to complaints that they can’t do two things at once or be in two places at the same time and then immediately treat each patient and family member with a smile and caring attitude. Nurses are required to have compassion, loyalty and strength (emotional, physical and spiritual) while being both firm and tender at the same time. It is no wonder they are considered to be one of the most trustworthy professions in society.