Nurses can enjoy a rewarding and diverse career that allows them to make significant difference in the lives of individuals and communities in their role as clinician, caregivers, and leaders taking responsibility for patient care (Price et al., 2014). In deciding to become a nurse, there was no divine intervention moment or following in the footsteps of admired relatives or parents but, instead, a gradual and illuminating realization that being at the bedside of persons recovering from illness would be a fulfilling career. Nevertheless, I have been lucky and honored to meet several nurses and healthcare professionals whose passion, diligence, and skill I hope to one day emulate. Perhaps the most important reason for pursuing a nursing career was my innate desire to care for and help others in times of need, while there are probably few careers in the world that offer so many opportunities to learn about myself. As a broad field of study and practice, nursing allows me to make a difference in the lives of others and to find a niche to use my interest in the natural world and science (Price et al., 2014). Nursing represent one of the most immersive and dynamic careers today, giving nursing students the satisfaction of investing their energy and rime in a career with significant growth opportunities.
History of Nursing
By the 19th century, industrialization and urbanization changed where and how patients received care as hospitals proliferated across Europe and North America along with an increasing demand for caregivers. Between 1840 and 1850, Nurse Societies had emerged employing an average of 50 nurses and establishing early nursing practice for patient care outside the home (Price et al., 2014). Florence Nightingale’s profound work in the Crimea in 1854 was ground-breaking as it allowed her to develop nurse education programs across British hospitals which improved patient care, informed ways to promote health, and confirmed a corps comprised of educated women. The American Civil War created increased demand for capable nurses with approximately 20,000 nurses serving in the South and the North and providing commendable service, which offered the rationale for future nursing training programs. In 1873, three education programs began operations in Boston, Connecticut, and New York based on Florence Nightingales ideas. The nursing profession organized in the 1890s with the formation of the Associated Alumnae of the U.S. and the American Society of Superintendents of training Schools for Nurses. WWI and WWII caused a significant diversification of the nursing profession, with increased critical demand for specialized nursing skills (Johnson, 2017). Finally, during the mid to late-20th century, advanced nursing programs started to flourish with emergence of the RN and the DNP respectively.
Present day of Nursing Career
The nursing profession has shown consistent capacity to adapt to varied and changing healthcare needs and has remained a highly respected and popular profession, attracting many new recruits every year. According to Wilson (2013), rapid knowledge expansion in the psychological and technological sciences today means that nursing undergraduate programs only provide a basic practice foundation, with graduates bearing the responsibility to expand and apply nursing knowledge in specific settings and roles. Nurses today prepare for increasingly specialized roles and duties including eh mentally ill, maternity patients, and newborn infants. Today, the nursing profession is unique and entails many clinical practice levels that range from advanced practice higher education to technical practice nurses. More importantly, there is growing emphasis on nursing education at college level with the need for nurses to develop greater knowledge to use the latest therapy and diagnosis methods. Training, in this case, involves actual hospital practice and classroom study, as well as the requirement to acquire licensure and certification from the state and nursing bodies. Most importantly, Wilson (2013) in her interview notes that contemporary nursing has become a caring and therapeutic discipline based on the humanities, sciences, and nursing knowledge with guidance from the American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics.
Future of Nursing Career
Along with the increasing numbers of nurses with a BSN education, nursing schools of the future will need enhanced capacities to prepare more nurses with graduate qualifications with the specific aim of assuming responsibilities in research, teaching, leadership, and advanced practice. There is great need for nurses with doctorate qualifications that can teach future nursing generations, while also conducting research, which should become the basis for nursing practice and science improvements (bls.gov, 2017). Moreover, with the increase in number of persons seeking care due to the passage of the Affordable care Act; nurses will begin practicing to the full extent of training and education received. Additionally, nurses will become full partners in the redesign of the country’s healthcare system along with other health professionals such as physicians; while also achieving higher training and educational levels due to improvements in the nursing education system that will increasingly offer seamless progression for nurses across the educational spectrum. Finally, for nurses to become more involved in effective healthcare policy making and workforce planning, nurses will be increasingly involved in data collection and informing improvements to the technology infrastructure (bls.gov, 2017). However, one thing that will remain the same is the close link between nurses and institutions that provide patient care.
Nursing is perhaps one of the most unique professions in that nursing education since the early 19th century has been linked to the practice environment, where all major developments in the field have emerged. In this case, it is important to note that nursing education continues to be the most important aspect of the profession moving forward as nursing program integrate knowledge from other fields such as psychology to improve healthcare delivery by making it more holistic and caring. Finally, the nursing profession ahs a bright future as many experienced nurses impart their knowledge and move into research with the aim of expanding nursing knowledge and informing practice for better healthcare delivery.
- bls.gov. (2017, October 24). Registered Nurses. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
- Johnson, S. (2017, August 17). How has nursing changed and what does the future hold? Retrieved October 30, 2017, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/mar/17/how-has-nursing-changed-and-what-does-the-future-hold
- Price, S., Doucet, S., & Hall, L. M. (2014). The historical social positioning of nursing and medicine: implications for career choice, early socialization and interprofessional collaboration. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 28(2), 103-109
- Wilson, S. (2013, July 25). Introduction to Nursing: Interview with a clinical nurse consultant. (T. Critchlow, Interviewer)