Nurse. Nursing. Nursed. I hear the words often thrown about in casual conversations describing what people outside the profession have done. “Aunt Barb retired a year early to stay at home and nurse Grandma ”. Or, “I did some nursing when I volunteered at the retirement home”. Or better yet, “I nursed my computer back to health after it caught a virus”.
A clerk in a law firm would never claim to be practicing law any more than I would claim to be an accountant just because I can balance a checkbook. So why is it that Nursing is one of the professions that the layman so readily lay claim to?
I think it is because we all, professional nurse or not, practice basic nursing principles to some extent daily with ourselves and others. Health, wellness and caring are principles that are applied to us from the day we are born and taught to us as we grow.
The nursing profession, like other healthcare professions, has built upon these and other principles through education, examinations and credentialing. But that does not tell us what a nurse is or what a nurse does.
I have heard many definitions. All different, all true. Our profession is so much of who we are, not just what we do. So of course if asked to define “nurse” the answer we give defines who we are to a certain extent.
The Nurses’ Kaleidoscope wants to know how you define “nurse”.