Nursing History: Florence Nightingale
The name Florence Nightingale is synonymous with nursing, for nursing would not be where it is today without her influence. Nightingale (1820–1910) was an English nurse who labored hard to improve sanitary conditions in hospitals, leading eventually to a reduction in infection rates, and other problems. She was one of the first people to see the importance of providing nurses with a formal education, and her book Notes on Nursing is a classic on the science and practice of nursing. A celebrity in her own lifetime, Nightingale was much beloved by her fellow citizens.
- Florence Nightingale Biography — A short biography of Florence Nightingale and links to sites with information about her can be found here.
- Florence Nightingale: Mathematician — Agnes Scott College hosts this page that highlights Florence Nightingale’s contributions to mathematics.
- Florence Nightingale: Renewer of Society— Here is some biographical data on Nightingale by an Anglican society
- Letters from Florence Nightingale — This page hosts actual correspondence from Florence Nightingale.
- The Victorian Web: Florence Nightingale — Users will find a page on Florence Nightingale and where she fits in Victorian history if they click this link.
Nursing — most people know what it is, but few could formulate a formal definition of the discipline. There are several definitions of nursing that have been offered by organizations around the world, and there are slight differences between all of them. What they hold in common, however, is the importance of devotion to the well-being of the patient and quality assistance for the attending doctors. Nothing is more important to nursing than these things.
- Considering Nursing? — This is a definition of nursing from the American Nurses Association.
- Defining Nursing — One nursing student offers her definition of the discipline on this page.
- Definition of Nursing — The International Council of Nurses puts forward this definition of nursing.
- What is Nursing? — On this page, users will find a rather lengthy definition of nursing from the Center for Nursing advocacy.
Becoming a Nurse: Education
Like other specialized fields, a career in nursing requires education beyond the high school level. A bachelor’s of science in nursing is not necessarily required for a nursing job, but many entry-level nursing positions in the government, education, and forensics will require the four-year degree. While the bachelor’s degree is not critical to become a licensed practical nurse, the position of registered nurse usually requires at least an associate’s degree. The master’s degree in nursing equips nurses to become supervisors of nursing staffs in hospitals and elsewhere.
- Becoming a Nurse in the United States — Persons who received their nursing education outside the United States but want to be a nurse in the U.S. will find this page from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools helpful.
- Considering Nursing as a Career — This International Honor Society of Nursing page gives easy-to-follow highlights of what is required to become a nurse.
- Nursing: The Basics — Johnson & Johnson hosts this page that gives a basic overview of the training required to become a nurse.
- Nursing: A Rewarding Career — The Georgia Nurses Association provides information on how a person can become a nurse on this site, which also features a downloadable pdf guide to nursing.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Licensed practical nursing in the first level of nursing care. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) will work under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses to provide basic care such as taking blood pressure, helping patients bathe, giving prescribed medicines, and more. They often have the most consistent interaction with the patient and are vitally important to patient recovery. Depending on their experience, some LPNs have more specialized duties.
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Overview — Those who are interested in the job prospects for licensed practical nurses in the United States should consult this U.S. Department of Labor page.
- Licensed Practical Nurse — This page explains the basic tasks of a licensed practical nurse, and it also gives the career outlook for LPNs in Florida.
- National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses — The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses is a leading professional society devoted to licensed practical nursing.
- Vocational/Licensed Practical Nurse — Here is a good career overview page on the duties of a licensed practical nurse.
Registered Nurse (RN)
A registered nurse (RN) can perform all the duties of an LPN, but will often have a more supervisory role in administering healthcare. RNs can manage LPNs and other paraprofessional health care workers, and they also help ensure patient safety through personnel reviews, observation, and more. Those who become registered nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other locations. Like LPNs, many RNs devote their skills to caring for specific types of patients depending on their experience.
- American Society of Registered Nurses — Users can access the homepage of a leading professional organization of registered nurses on this page.
- NCLEX Examinations — Information on the exam that a potential registered nurse must pass for certification is located on this site.
- Occupational Outlook: Registered Nurses — This page details the responsibilities of registered nurses in the United States and provides a job outlook.
- Registered Nurse — The description of registered nurse requirements and duties on this state government page from Oklahoma applies to all RNs in general.
- RN Requirements — A basic outline for how someone can become a registered nurse is found on this page.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
The nurse practitioner (NP) is equipped to provide the highest level of patient care, and they are able to take care of the majority of a person’s healthcare. Under the guidance of a doctor, a nurse practitioner is able to prescribe medicines and refer patients to other healthcare providers. They often play an important role in educating both patients and new nurses, and the position of nurse practitioner often requires a graduate degree. The privileges of the NP can vary from state to state.
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners — The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners is a leading professional association of NPs in the United States.
- American College of Nurse Practitioners — This is the homepage of another professional society of nurse practitioners in the United States.
- NP Central — Existing nurse practitioners and potential nurse practitioners will want to consult the links on this page developed by NPs.
- Nurse Practitioner Career Overview — Persons looking for information on nurse practitioners and their duties will find this page from the Mayo Clinic very useful.
- What’s a Nurse Practitioner — Parents may find this page on nurse practitioners especially helpful.
All nurses work in a highly demanding and challenging environment as they seek to please both doctors and patients. Nurses generally report high satisfaction with their jobs, but as with any occupation, there are things that can be done to improve the working environment. Most importantly, nursing staff levels are low in many places, which puts greater stress on the nurses who are on duty. As far as continuing education, the nurse working environment is a great setting for people who want to advance their knowledge, as skills are being constantly reviewed and improved in the setting of the hospital and the physician’s office.
- AACN’s Healthy Work Environments Initiative — The American Association of Critical Care Nurses has developed this page with tools on assessing and improving working conditions for nurses.
- Critical Care Nurses’ Work Environment — This page provides an overview on the working conditions for critical care nurses.
- Nurses’ Working Conditions and Infectious Disease — This report looks at the impact of nurse staffing levels on outbreaks of infectious disease, infectious disease in the nursing environment, and more.
- Safe Staffing Saves Lives — The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act has been introduced to provide adequate staffing levels of registered nurses at hospitals across the country.