In the broadest possible sense, nursing is defined as the practice and profession of bringing individuals and families to an optimal quality of life. Nurses are differentiated from doctors by their expertise, training, focus, and the scope of nursing practice as it relates to health care. The roles that nurses play in many ways shapes their vocational orientation. That said, certified nurses and nursing programs will neatly fall under the American Nurses Association (ANA) banner in one guise or another.
American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association’s chief mission is the cultivation and ongoing protection of community health and opportunities. Subsidiary aims of the American Nurses Association are the prevention or arrest of suffering in patients as well as patient advocacy. Patient advocacy means advocating on behalf of the wellbeing of patients and their families alongside protecting the health of the communities and populations from which patients spring.
Types of Nursing Degrees in the US
According to a 2000 survey, a scant 6% of nurses who graduated with the intent to become registered nurses, graduated from a Diploma School of Nursing. Today’s nurses are furnished with RN degrees usually after three or four years of intensive coursework, which revolves around the following domains: physiology, microbiology, anatomy, nutrition, and chemistry. Nurses graduating after 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree are equipped to tackle broad health challenges as registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN); the registered nurse qualification is perhaps the more broad field.
What Nurses Need to Know
The job duties and responsibilities of different types of nurses markedly varies based on training and specialization. The Nurse Practice Act of the state in which the registered nurse is licensed will largely determine what she or he may legally do as a nurse. Although each state has its own rules and laws, overarching national organizations (ANA) and health care protocol (HIPPA) also circumscribe the ethical and occupational limitations of nurses in the real world. These state-based idiosyncrasies extend to the names nurses are given as well: in many states, the term “nursing” can only be used to specify a registered nurse, as opposed to, perhaps, a vocational nurse.
Right Mindset for Nurses
The above description of a nurse’s duties and responsibilities should give some indication of the correct mindset that aspiring nurses need to cultivate from the outset. An RN in the United States in 2007 had a median income of $60,000, which should dissuade young people from pursuing nursing solely for the money. Nurses aim to maintain or better the wellbeing of patients under the auspices of a host of employers: schools, governmental agencies, insurance companies, private industry, municipalities, and community health centers. The commonality that runs through all of these ostensive differences in place is the nurse’s ongoing commitment to health excellence and steadfastness of purpose.
The Goal of Nursing
The American Nurses Association outlines the ways in which aspiring and practicing nurses can better their patients’ lives and the overarching community. To accomplish these goals, aspiring nurses may select from one of the following nursing specialities: community; neonatal; pediatrics; mental health; gerontology; and, family. The particular nursing specialty will likely steer the populations nurses see on a daily basis and the communities in which nurses work within to better health. For instance, neonatal and gerontological nurses may find themselves in hospitals or geriatric homes. The study of community and mental health nursing, alternatively, will likely take place in a university or mental health facility.
In whichever nursing speciality aspiring nurses select, a commitment to the overarching credo and rules outlined by the American Nurses Association is paramount for success.
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Karen Black worked in a hospital as a RN for many years before becoming a nursing instructor. She has since contributed to accelerated BSN programs online for others seeking the convenience of online education in order to get their BSN to enhance their career opportunities.