Tiffany Davis, Health & Wellness Co-Publisher – National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. National Nurses Week is an established and nationally recognized event. As of 1998, May 8th was designated as National Student Nurses Day to be celebrated annually. As of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week each year. International Nurses Dayis celebrated around the world on May 12th of each year. The theme for National Nurses Week in 2016 is Culture of Safety: It Starts with YOU.
The d-mars.com Health & Wellness Journal and E-PIC Training Center, Inc. are excited to celebrate nurses not only for one week, but to expand our celebration for the entire month of May. The healthcare industry depends on nurses to serve for the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human responses; and advocacy in health care for individuals, families, communities, and populations.
Patient safety is an essential and vital component of quality nursing care. However, like anything else, the nation’s healthcare system is prone to errors. Errors can be detrimental to a patient’s care. As nurses, we are individuals in a large pool of other healthcare providers. Ultimately, we must protect each other and our patients to ensure safe environments and practices.
Nursing is a knowledge-based profession. The basis for the scientific practice of nursing includes nursing science; the biomedical, physical, economic, behavioral and social sciences; ethics; and philosophy. A nurse’s ability to be a critical thinker and to use this knowledge in the delivery of nursing care is essential to the well-being and safety of those for whom nurses care (ANA, 2003b; Ballard, 2002).
Early in nursing history, Florence Nightingale advocated for safe care. She proposed that nurses through their practice had to put the patient in the best condition possible for nature to act upon the patient. In discussing contemporary nursing practice, The American Nurses Association (ANA) states that an essential feature of nursing is the provision of a caring relationship that facilitates health and healing (ANA, 2003a). In the Crimea, Nightingale conducted some of the earliest nursing studies on factors influencing the outcomes of patient care (Nightingale, 1859). It is important that nurses work to continue these traditions by strengthening the nurse-patient relationship and diligently using research findings, so as to provide safe care for patients.
Laws, rules, and standards can also enhance safe care. Nurses are held accountable to follow the laws, regulations, and rules of the licensing authority and the standards and ethics of the profession as promulgated by the various nursing associations. These laws, rules, and standards include meeting educational requirements, maintaining competence in practice, and refraining from engaging in any acts of professional misconduct such as abusing a patient; practicing incompetently, fraudulently or while impaired; failing to document appropriately; revealing personally identifiable information about a patient; and inappropriately delegating professional acts (Ballard, 2002).
It is a nurse’s professional responsibility to remain safe and competent by being a lifelong learner. It is important to make informed choices about educational and clinical advancement and specialty certification. Educational choices can include continuing education courses or advanced degree programs. Clinical advancement can include becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) such as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife, or deciding to specialize in a particular field of nursing through continuing education and/or clinical practice. Professional nurses can demonstrate proficiency and expertise in the practice of nursing by seeking certification in a clinical area (such as pediatrics, medical-surgical, or psychiatric-mental health) or in a specific role (such as administrator, informatics specialist, or staff development educator). Certification generally requires completion of an accredited educational program in the specialty, recommendations from professional colleagues, and passing a certification examination administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or a specialty nursing association.
Types of Nurses & Areas of Nursing
The common thread uniting different types of nurses who work in varied areas is the nursing process (Assessment, Diagnosis, Outcome/Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation) — the essential core of practice for the registered nurse is to deliver holistic, patient-focused care. The nursing profession provides a wide range of jobs and opportunities. There are many different types of nurses and nursing positions.
Registered Nurse (RN) – RNs practice in all healthcare settings: hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, ambulatory care centers, community health centers, schools, and retail clinics. They also provide health care in more surprising locations such as camps, homeless shelters, prisons, sporting events, and tourist destinations.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in California and Texas, complement the healthcare team by providing basic and routine care consistent with their education under the direction of a RN, APRN, or MD/DO in a variety of settings.
Agency Nurse – Agency Nurses, as opposed to traditional nurses, work on an availability basis, announcing the hours in which they will be able to work and signing up for shifts that fit within those ranges. Since they work for an agency, rather than a specific hospital, their jobs often shift from place to place.
Ambulatory Care Nurse – Ambulatory Care Nurses take care of temporary patients who reside in hospitals for twenty-four hours or less. Since the patients who fit this description vary quite a bit, these types of nurses work with a number of different injuries and illnesses, rather than specializing in one region.
Nurse Entrepreneurs – Nurse Entrepreneurs use their nursing education and business background to start ventures within the healthcare industry—establishing, promoting and running their own companies. Some develop medical devices, training centers, computerized systems, or home health products. To set out on your own as a Nurse Entrepreneur, some key skills to have but not limited includes: creativity, business savvy, ability to find clients, establish a marketing/strategy team, as well as a consistent customer base.
Nurse Anesthetists – Nurse Anesthetists obtained a Master’s degree and/or certification to assists doctors in a wide variety of settings, including the hospital room, surgery room, and dentist’s office. They provide the anesthesia to relieve or prevent the patient from feeling pain from the impending procedure.
Cardiac Care Nurse – Cardiac Care Nurses work with many staff members, including various types of doctors, to monitor and regulate functions of the heart in patients. Cardiac patients often come in for one of quite a few different issues, ranging from less severe chest pain to the extremely severe heart attack.
Case Management – Case Management Nurses focus more on the research aspect of healthcare, seeking to find the most efficient treatment process for patients. They work in labs and hospitals with a group of patients, analyzing and assessing conditions, as well as testing potential treatment methods.
Critical Care Nurse – Critical Care Nurses care for patients who are knocking on death’s door. These patients need immediate care and, if it is not provided, could result in fatal consequences.
Emergency Nurse – Emergency Nurses work in the Emergency Room and treat patients who arrive at the hospital in critical condition. The environment tends to be quite a bit hectic, filled with doctors and nurses rushing from room to room in an attempt to make sure no one passes on their watch.
Forensic Nurse – Forensic Nurses work with patients who have been involved and injured in violent crimes. They collect evidence regarding the misdemeanor and pass the information on to the police. In addition to this, Forensic Nurses also often work in the prison system.
Gastroenterology Nurse – Gastroenterology Nurses treat patients with potentially detrimental gastrointestinal issues who require assistance in eliminating these problems. They work in a range of medical settings, including physician offices, inpatient and outpatient departments, and inpatient hospital units.
Geriatric Nurse – Geriatric Nurses take care of the elderly in nursing homes, hospitals, or at the patient’s home. This particular type is very taxing on nurses since the elderly tend to become ill very often and rely on the nurses to help them meet all of their basic needs.
Holistic Nurse – Holistic Nurses work with patients to provide care for the entirety of the patient, including both mind and body. They use therapeutic methods to improve the patient’s connection with emotions, spirit, interpersonal relationships, and surrounding environment.
HIV/AIDS Nurse – HIV/AIDS Nurses care for terminal patients who have been diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (more commonly referred to as HIV/AIDS) to lessen the severity of symptoms and help patients cope with the onset of this disease.
Nurse Informatics – Nurse Informatics is a field of nursing that heavily involves the use of computers. Nurses in this area create and enhance electronic medical programs to assist doctors and other nurses to better treat and care for their patients.
Other types of nurses:
• Legal Nursing
• Military Nurse
• Neonatal Nurse
• Neuroscience Nurse
• Nurse Practitioner
• Occupational Health
• Oncology Nurse
• Pediatric Nurse
• Psychiatric Nurse
• Research Nurse
• Transplant Nurse
• School Nursing
• Trauma Nurse
• Travel Nursing
• Woman’s Health
Being a nurse for over 16 years and President and CEO of E-PIC Training Center, Inc., this profession has given me satisfaction spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially. I encourage those in the healthcare arena and future nurses to reach for the sky, but always putting first the patient and care of our communities before the job.
- Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
- The American Nurses Association