Nursing Profession: History and Education Specifics

Nursing profession is now regarded as a complex occupation that encompasses health care, public health advocacy, medical competence, and ethical consideration in terms of cooperation with patients. However, the occupation itself had to undergo various changes to be in the place it is today. Hence, the primary purpose of the following paper is to discuss the peculiarities of diachronic perspective of nursing development and the peculiarities of nursing education.

Changes over Time

The history of the nursing occupation traces back to the times where the professions tailored specifically for females were a means of assistance for other recognized trades. Initially, nursing was associated with the lack of proper education and willingness to help sick people at home. However, in 1854, the era of professional nursing began with Florence Nightingale leading a group of nurses to help the soldiers during the Crimean War (Roux, 2017). Since then, the profession was no longer perceived as an optional endeavor for women. According to Roux (2017), the following changes in nursing occupation may be outlined:

  • Range of responsibilities. Previously, nurses were limited in terms of the decision-making process and autonomy, as they were primarily regarded as physicians’ assistants. However, the modern definition of nursing presupposes more opportunities in cooperation with patients and advocating community health.
  • Patient care. When looking at nursing from a diachronic perspective, it becomes evident that some major changes have been introduced in the field of patient-oriented care. Thus, rather than focusing on purely medical endeavors, today’s nurses are professionally educated to involve in the treatment process with every patient.

Practice Competencies Between Associate and Baccalaureate Degree Nurses

The introduction of the aforementioned changes into the field of nursing has contributed to the emergence of various academic degrees nurses may choose according to the sphere of potential responsibility. Thus, currently, there exist two major types of degrees: Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Essentially, an associate degree is primarily focused on the process of quality day-to-day patient care. A baccalaureate certificate, in its turn, also encompasses the aspects of public health education and organizational perspectives of nursing (“ADN vs. BSN,” n.d.). Thus, when speaking of the scope of practice within ADN and BSN certificates, the following aspects should be outlined:

  • ADN qualification focuses on providing future nurses with extensive knowledge of basic clinical tasks and procedures, daily operations, and organizing corresponding paperwork.
  • Having received the fundamentals of ADN, BSN nurses are provided with the opportunity to embrace leadership and administrative positions within the facility. Thus, by obtaining a BSN degree, nursing professionals are able to advocate for changes by means of educating fellow colleagues and promoting transformations in the public health paradigm.

Patient Care Situation and Approaches to Decision-Making

As far as different patient care situations are concerned, it would be safe to assume that BSN and DN nurses vary in terms of the responsibility scope. For example, when taking into consideration palliative care as one of the primary nursing responsibilities, BSN nurses’ autonomy in terms of decision-making is significantly higher (Lippe et al., 2018). It means that ADN nurses, while having the responsibility of taking care of the patient, are dependent on the physician’s verdict, being incapable of performing any autonomous interventions. Some scholars believe that such a pattern depends on the fact that BSN nurses tend to acquire enough theoretical and empirical knowledge to act independently in various patient care scenarios (Sibandze & Scafide, 2018). Thus, such patient care situations as palliative care, although similar when it comes to the fundamental approach to the treatment, differ in terms of the extent of decision-making and autonomy.

Evidence-Based Practice

Today’s model of nursing education cannot be considered exhaustive without accounting for the notion of evidence-based practice, or EBP. The term stands for the nursing approach that presupposes analyzing empirical data in order to mitigate the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills (“Role of evidence-based practice,” 2017). It is now generally accepted that the application of EBP is relevant to BSN nurses, as they are required to critically analyze data in order to employ reasonable decision-making. As far as AND nurses are concerned, their ability to use the following approach is rather limited due to the fact that they are rarely able to make decisions autonomously. Hence, during one’s shift from an ADN to BSN degree, nurses should pay much attention to the empirical data assessment in order to be more prepared for their professional practice.

Collaboration with Interdisciplinary Teams

It is widely recognized that collaboration in health care plays a crucial role in terms of securing positive patient outcomes. As far as interdisciplinary teams are concerned, the collaboration is centered around nurses, physicians, and other staff members. Hence, when pooling efforts, both doctors and nurses have the chance to critically assess the patient care situations and ways of their addressing. In such situations, the fundamentals of critical thinking are applied, which provides the nurses with the opportunity to create an exhaustive portrait of the patient’s health condition and implications of the intervention plans required in similar situations. Moreover, collaboration within the team is also crucial in terms of maintaining the team’s morale and mental support during the working process.

Conclusion

The primary aim of the following paper was to look into some of the most widespread aspects of nursing profession and education. As a result, it has been estimated that, despite the academic degree, nursing is primarily aimed at doing one’s best at assisting patients and community. Moreover, considering the challenges nursing profession has undergone for the past centuries, it is of crucial importance to make sure nurses are presented properly to the general public.

References

ADN vs. BSN: What’s the difference? (n.d.). Herzing University. Web.

Lippe, M., Johnson, B., Mohr, S. B., & Kraemer, K. R. (2018). Palliative care educational interventions for prelicensure healthcare students: An integrative review. The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, 35(9), 1235–1244. Web.

Role of evidence-based practice in nursing. (2017). Mississippi College. Web.

Roux, G. (2017). Issues and trends in nursing. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Sibandze, B. T., & Scafide, K. N. (2018). Among nurses, how does education level impact professional values? A systematic review. International Nursing Review, 65(1), 65-77. Web.