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A career in the field of nursing

A Career in the Field of Nursing

A Career in the Nursing Field

Thesis: A career in the field of nursing has a wide variety of different positions and is

worth the hard work a person puts into it.

I. Definition

II. History

III. General information

A. Facts

B. Nursing process

C. Nursing code

D. Selecting a field

IV. Requirements

A. Physical

B. Emotional

V. Education

A. Preparation

B. Choice of a program

C. Types of degrees

1. Diploma degree

2. Associate degree

3. Baccalaureate degree

4. Masters degree

5. Doctoral degree

VI. Types of nurses

A. Registered nurse

1. Nurse anesthetists

2. Nurse midwives

3. Nurse practitioners

B. General duty nurse

C. Surgical nurse

D. School nurse

E. Community health nurse

F. Advanced practice nurse

G. Clinical nurse specialist

H. Private duty nurse

VII. Responsibility

A. Dependent functions

B. Independent functions

VIII. Working conditions

IX. Organizations

X. Shortage

A. Reasons

B. Solutions

XI. Salary

XII. Future

There are thousands of different job opportunities throughout the world. Most of

these jobs have branches that give a person even more opportunities. Although nursing has not always been broad, nursing in the present day has many different positions that a person can fill and is a great example of how diverse this profession can be. Nursing is a basic in hospitals all over the world and is a job that our world has had need for thousands of years. For every field of medicine, there is a different nursing field that corresponds with the medical field. A career in the field of nursing is worth the hard work a person puts into it.

Nursing is one career that has more than one definition. Scholars have yet to agree on a single definition. Some say that nursing is love. In a way this is correct. A nurse cares for people who are sick in every way and sometimes all a person needs is love and someone to talk to. A scientific definition for nursing is "observes, assesses, and records symptoms, reactions, and progress of patients; administers medications; helps rehabilitate patients; instructs patients and family members in proper health care; and helps maintain a physical and emotional environment that promotes recovery". A nurse does not help only individuals, they also help families and groups achieve health and prevent disease. The definition "nursing" refers to the functions that a person will do after formal education and training. Although there are many definitions of nursing, most people say that nursing is a career that requires a nurse to help a sick or injured person.

Many of these definitions were developed throughout history. Nursing began with Florence Nightingale around the 1850’s. During the first few years of nursing, a nurse’s main responsibility was to help a person maintain personal hygiene. In China, medicine men would use charms to try to heal the sick and injured but they were smart and sophisticated enough to use female nurses for childbirth. When a career in nursing first began, many nurses were looked at as uneducated women who couldn’t care for themselves. Nurses were looked down on and mainly cared for homeless and poor families. Many years after Nightingale, careers in nursing have multiplied and nurses are looked up to and are recognized now more than ever. Boston, Massachusetts had the privilege of housing the first school of nursing in 1873. Since the first nursing school was opened, the training a nurse will go through has dramatically changed. Throughout the history of nursing two goals have developed to promote the health of individuals and society and to put a person in the best condition for nature to act upon him.

Everybody knows that a nurse provides services to the sick and injured, and these days, nurses are doing more research to produce more knowledge. A nurse is part of a team of many other nurses and doctors. This team of nurses makes for a steady running operation within a hospital or workplace. Most employed nurses are employed in a hospital. The nurses employed in these hospitals are well educated, no matter how young they may be.

Within these hospitals, nurses all follow a procedure called the nursing process. This process is "described as an orderly, systematic manner of determining the clients health status, specifying problems defined as alterations in human need fulfillment, and making plans to solve them". In easier terms, the nursing process is assessing the patient by taking temperature, blood pressure, and recording results and symptoms; planning the steps the nurse will need to take to make the patient more comfortable and on the road to recovery; implementing, or carrying out, the previously made plans; and evaluating the results of the carried-out plans. The nurse uses this process in every environment they might work in. The process is also used on every person a nurse treats. Many people other than nurses use this same process in everyday life.

The American Nurses’ Association has issued a code for nursing, consists of ten statements that all nurses in every field must follow.

"1. The nurse provides services with respect for the dignity of

man, unrestricted by considerations of nationality, race, creed,

color, or status.

2. The nurse safeguards in individuals right to privacy by

judiciously protecting information of a confidential nature,

sharing only that information relevant to his care.

3. The nurse maintains individual competence in the nursing

practice, recognizing and accepting responsibility for individual

actions and judgment.

4. The nurse reacts to safeguard the patient when his care

and safety are affected by incompetent, unethical, or illegal

conduct of any person.

5. The nurse uses individual competence as a criterion in

accepting delegated responsibilities and assigning nursing

activities to others.

6. The nurse participates in research activities when

assured that the rights of individuals subject are protected.

7. The nurse participates in the efforts of the profession to

define and up grade standards of nursing practice and education.

8. The nurse, acting through the professional organization,

participates in establishing and maintaining conditions of employment

conducive to high-quality nursing.

9. The nurse works with members of health professionals and

other citizens in promoting efforts to meet health needs of the public.

10. The nurse refuses to give or imply endorsement to advertising

promotion, or for commercial products, services, or enterprises."

When selecting a career to enter into, a person must base his decision on his own personal feelings. With all the fields of nursing continuing to grow and diversify, there are a wide variety of career opportunities to choose from. A person wanting to enter into the nursing field can adapt a field to his own interest. "One approach to self-assessment is to evaluate preferences and skills in the following areas: manual skills, temperament, interpersonal skills, values, role preferences, and cognitive skills." Most nursing students choose a field of nursing that fits his personality.

Requirements of nursing consist on some of the same characteristics a person selecting a career may consider. A nurse must be able to make a sound and intelligent decision based on the information given. Along with this, a nurse is also required to have a certain amount of physical requirements. One of these is communicating skills. A nurse needs to be able to communicate well with his patients. Communication will help the nurse to explain things to his patients and family member. Nurses are also required to have a certain amount of temperament. For example, a nurse working in an emergency room must be able to handle the grueling intensity of this setting. A certain amount of stamina is also required depending on the field a person may enter.

Along with physical requirements come emotional requirements. A nurse must have the desire to help others and be around others. He must also be able to deal with the death of a patient and be able to help the family of the deceased cope with the death. Empathy is also a physical requirement. Empathy is "the ability to respond to another with a feeling of knowing what other individuals are experiencing".

Since nurses have to stay very skilled in their field, a good education is required. No matter what field of nursing a person may go into, a high-school diploma is a must. In high school, a student needs to take all the mathematic and science courses available. High school education is what many call formal/background education. A high-school education is also considered the backbone for whatever course of study a person takes next.

Once a student graduates high school and decides what field of nursing he wants to go into then he may figure out the amount of time and classes that he will have to take. The first year of college a nursing student will take basic classes. First semester courses nursing students take are normal nutrition, elementary nursing procedures, family living, growth and development, medical and surgical nursing, and body structure and function. The second semester courses nursing students take are care of mother and newborns, care of children, care of mental patients, diet therapy, drugs and their administration. Clinical courses are also essential for a nursing major. Formal educational schools offer many challenges for professional nurses who are committed to career advancement. The first formal training program for nurses began in 1856 in Kaiserswerth, Germany. Before, most of nursing training was on-hand training and not as much classroom training was involved. Now all nurses have formal training with on-hand experience together. The learning experience involved with nursing is a lifelong process because as knowledge grows rapidly, a nurse must return to school to update his knowledge.

When a nurse is entering into an educational foundation, he must decide the best educational program to enter into. One of the first things a nursing student needs to decide is what field they are entering into. It would be impossible to study for all nursing careers at one time. The next step in choosing a program is to choose a program that offers the best education available. The last thing to do when choosing an education program is to look at the programs requirements.

When a student has chosen a program, he has another decision to make. One needs to decide on what type of degree he wants. There are five major degrees available. The diploma degree is operated by hospitals and was the first type of nursing school. At one time, more than diploma programs educated seventy-two percent of nurses. This program must offer their students a true educational program and also offers students class work and supervised practice. The program is a two to four year program that offers a great atmosphere for nurses to train and learn. Although the diploma program is not an academic degree, once a student graduates from this program, he can take the licensing examination in the state he wishes to practice. Once the exam is passed, he may use the title registered nurse (RN).

Another degree available is the associate degree. This is a "two year program that emphasizes technical skills supported by a basic foundation biological and behavioral sciences". This program is offered by junior colleges and some times four-year colleges. Some states permit hospitals to "award" associate degrees. When a student graduates from this program, he can take the state licensing examination and can practice as a registered nurse. "Many associate degree graduates are continuing to BSN, sometimes through external degree."

The bachelor’s degree, or baccalaureate degree, is another degree available. This program is completed in four to five years. This program mainly is found in colleges and universities. "This four year program provides a strong base of liberal education in the arts, sciences, and humanities." This program "emphasizes bedside patient care, and provides courses in community health nursing, leadership, and nursing research" Because the bachelors’ program "includes courses in general education and the liberal arts, the science germane to and related to nursing, and nursing", it is different from all other basic nursing programs. Once a student finishes this program, he takes an exam, and if passed, receives a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

To be eligible for a master’s degree, a nurse must be a graduate of an accredited baccalaureate-nursing program. This program is offered in a few universities and major nursing schools. A nurse will get a masters degree to prepare for a special field of nursing or to teach. "Many schools of nursing have established post master’s option programs, which allow nurses who hold master degrees in nursing to cross train and prepare for certification in another nursing specialty."

The last degree available to nurses is the doctoral degree. This is a professional degree that is offered only by several programs. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of doctoral programs for nursing in the past years, and along with this increase is an increase of doctoral prepared nurses also. "The doctoral program is designed to prepare a student for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry that manifest itself in creative scholarship and research, often leading to careers in social, government, business, and industrial organizations as well as the more traditional careers in university and college teaching."

After completing the educational requirements, a nurse has many job opportunities available to him. There are two major categories of nurses, the registered nurse, the most common type of nurse, and the licensed practical nurse, which help registered nurses and perform general nurses duties. There are three types of registered nurses, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. The nurse anesthetist works under a physician. The nurse anesthetist’s main duty is to administer anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery. The nurse midwife first started home birth services for the poor and immigrant women. This field of nursing began in 1925. A nurse midwife provides health care to women expecting babies, advises patients on delivery, delivers babies, and teaches parents how to care for their babies. All nurse midwives work under the supervision of a physician. A nurse practitioner can perform the same tasks as a physician. A nurse practitioner works in many health care settings and is "a recent entry into the nursing field".

There are many other types of nurses in the nursing field. A general duty nurse is basically what it sounds like. This type of nurse takes temperatures, pulse, and blood pressure. They administer medication to patients and record symptoms and progress of the patient’s health. They help patients with personal needs; report all changes in the patient to a member of the main medical staff. The surgical nurse prepares the operating room by sterilizing instruments and assisting the surgeons during operations. The school nurse provides health care to students within a school or a certain school district. The main duty of a school nurse is to take temperature and administer Tylenol. The community health nurses (pubic health nurse) requires special training and they travel from one job to the other. The advanced practice nurse is a nurse with training beyond that required having the registered nurse designation. The clinical nurse specialist has an advances education. This nurse specializes in a certain field of the nursing practice and work with high-risk mothers and babies. The private duty nurse works in hospitals and also in patient’s homes. This field is designed for individual care of patients.

Nurses have many responsibilities no matter what job field he may enter into. Nurses have to do for patients what the patients cannot do for themselves. Nurses have to prevent illnesses to the best of the nurse’s ability. To prevent illnesses, the nurse has to carry out a plan based on the medical regimen. Nurses are responsible for finding out a patient’s medical history and reporting it to the physician on duty. Nurses are responsible for all actions and must pay any and all consequences. To prevent mistakes, a nurse must know about the patient before rendering any health needs to a patient and must know all drugs and what each are for.

Along with a nurses responsibility a nurse has two major functions, dependent and independent. The dependent function must be carried out under the orders of a licensed physician. This function consists of administering medications and changing dressings on wounds. The independent functions are carried out based on a nurse’s own professional judgment. This allows nurses to bath patients, position patients to prevent joint stiffness, and other simple tasks.

A nurse is more likely to carry out his responsibility in the best working conditions available. Nurses work in facilities that are clean and well lighted with a controlled temperature. Most of these nurses are employed in hospitals where he works eight-hour shifts, which most of the time he will spend his shift on his feet. A nurse can come in contact with infectious diseases and for that reason must be extremely careful while working. This risk makes working conditions strenuous and sometimes dangerous. There are many different nursing organizations that a nurse may be a member of during his career. The American Nurses Association (ANA) is an international organization that has over 200,000 members. The ANA’s two main functions are to work to maintain a high standard of service to the community and to work for the welfare of members. The National League for nursing (NLN) was started in 1952. The NLN "includes nurses, interested non-nurses, and relevant institutio!

ns to strengthen nursing education, and service". The National Federation of Specialty Nursing Organization (NFSNO) is an organization that is open to individual nurses not non-nurses. Only nurses of special fields are members. Other organizations available to nurses are the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the American Organization of Nurses Executives (AONE).

A few of these organizations are trying to help with the shortage of nurses in today’s society. Throughout history, there have always been shortages mainly caused by the underpaying of nurses. Hospitals trying to be cost efficient caused the low pay, which has caused people to not blink an eye at the nursing career. Another reason for the shortage is that a nurse must work nights and weekends. "The nursing shortage of recent years still exist in many areas of the country, and it affects all specialties." Mostly rural and inner city areas are affected by this shortage because of the lack of a large population. "The shortage condition means there will be some very attractive opportunities because they will welcome you with open arms." The solution to this shortage is to give nurses benefit packages, reimburse nurses for college tuition, and increase wages.

A nurse’s salary varies dramatically with all the different nursing jobs today. An experienced nurse will average $25,000 per year where as the professional nurse will average more than $31,000 per year. In the 1990’s, a nurse started at $27,000 per year, experience nurses at $33,000 per year, head nurse around $47,000 to $53,000 per year. In 1994, a nurse anesthetist was the highest paid nurse receiving between $44,800 to $68,200 per year. The more experienced the nurse, the higher the income a nurse will receive.

Even though many think that there are to many nurses, there will be vacancies in the future. Careers in nursing are expected to grow throughout year 2005. This "growth will be driven by technological advances in patient care, which will permit a greater number of medical problems to be treated, and increasing emphasis on primary care". The future in nursing is relying on high-quality and cost-effective nursing care. With different illnesses growing every day, the need for more nurses in the future is also growing.

A career in the field of nursing has a wide variety of different position and is worth the hard work a person puts into it. Medical fields correspond with each nursing career and will always be needed in our world today and in the future. The increase in salary will have students swarming to this career like bees to honey. Nursing careers are flourishing and expanding to fit the needs of the future. Although nursing is only one of many jobs in the world, the world would not be able to survive with out it.



1Joyce Slayton Mitchell, College to Career (New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1986) 194.

2"Nurses," Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance, vol. 3 (Chicago, Illinois: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 1997) 690.

3Lucie Young Kelly, Dimensions of Professional Nursing, 6th ed. (New York: Pergamon Press, 1991) 192.

4K. Frederickson, Opportunities in Nursing Careers (Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM Career Horizons, 1983) 16-17.

5Frederickson 74.

6Frederickson 38.

7Evalyn P. Carruthers, "Nursing," Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, CD-ROM, 1999 ed. 1.

8Kelly 240.

9Carruthers 2.

10Kelly 2.

11Carruthers 2-3.

12Carruthers 2-3.

13Kelly 264.

14Carruthers 3.

15Joanne Comi McCloskey, Current Issues in Nursing, 3rd ed. (St. Louis: Mosby, 1990) 139.

16McCloskey 150.

17McCloskey 146.

18Donald I. Shook, Opportunities in Health and Medical Careers (Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM Career Horizons, 1983) 35.

19McCloskey 205.

20Shook 35.

21"Nursing" 692.

22"Nursing" 692.

23Karen Creason Sorensen, Basic Nursing (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1979) 132.

24Sorensen 132.

25McCloskey 318.

26"Nursing" 694.

27Joyce Lain Kennedy, Career Book (Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM Career Horizons, 1988) 72.

28The Enhanced Occupational Outlook Handbook (Indianapolis: JIST Work Inc., 1997) 234.

Works Cited

Carruthers, Evalyn P. "Nursing." Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-ROM.

1999 ed.

The Enhanced Occupational Outlook Handbook. Indianapolis: JIST Work, Inc.,


Frederickson, K. Opportunities in Nursing Careers. Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM

Career Horizons, 1983.

Kelly, Lucie Young. Dimensions of Professional Nursing. 6th ed. New York:

Pergamon Press, 1991.

Kennedy, Joyce Lain. Career Book. Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM Career

Horizons, 1988.

McCloskey, Joanne Comi. Current Issues in Nursing. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Mosby,


Mitchell, Joyce Slayton. College to Career. New York: College Entrance

Examination Board, 1986.

"Nurses." Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance. vol. 3. Chicago,

Illinois: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 1997.

Shook, I Donald. Opportunities in Health and Medical Careers. Lincolnwood,

Illinois: VGM Career Horizons, 1983.

Sorensen, Karen Creason. Basic Nursing. Philadephia: W.B. Saunders Company,


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