Nursing involves the (1) protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities;
(2) prevention of illness and injury; (3) alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and
treatment of human response; and (4) advocacy in the care of individuals, families,
communities, and populations.
Nurses offer skilled care to those recuperating from illness or injury, advocate for
patients’ rights, teach patients so that they can make informed decisions, support patients
at critical times, and help them navigate the increasingly complex health care system.
Certification in nursing specialties (e.g., ambulatory care, critical care, gerontologic,
pediatric, psychiatric and mental health, and community health nursing) is offered
through a variety of nursing organizations.
Entry-level nurses with an associate or baccalaureate degree in nursing are prepared to
function as generalists. With additional preparation, nurses can assume roles such as
clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner.
The exact roles (i.e., independent, dependent, collaborative) of the nurse are often
determined by state and agency policies. In most cases, the nurse’s role is one of
“interdependence and co-participation” with the patient and other health team members.
Delegation of nursing interventions to licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational
nurses (LPNs/LVNs) and unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) is an important function
of the professional nurse.
Healthy People 2010 is a broad-based program that involves government, private, public,
and nonprofit organizations in preventing disease and promoting health.
Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the conscientious use of the best evidence (e.g.,
findings from research) in combination with clinician expertise and patient preferences
and values in clinical decision-making.
Nursing informatics is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and
information science in identifying, collecting, processing, and managing data and
information to support nursing practice, administration, education, and research.
The five elements of the nursing process are ass