Have you ever been asked “what does a nurse do?” How did you reply? Did you go down the oversimplified line of “we care for patients”? Did you dismiss your skills with “we wipe bums all day”? Or did you fall into the trap of simply reciting a list of tasks?
Nurses seem to be perplexed by this question. As a profession, we are not good at defining what we do. Perhaps we find it difficult because there is no single definition that perfectly fits all nurses. The specialities and career paths available to nurses are so wide and varied, even those within our profession struggle to understand the roles of those outside our own areas.
Perhaps it is because others have dismissed us as “just nurses” and belittled our contributions to healthcare and society. Perhaps it is because, as the name suggests, nursing takes ‘practice’ in order to fully understand what it is we really do when we complete our tasks. Perhaps it is because we undervalue our skills, our education, ourselves.
I don’t have the all-encompassing, wisdom filled definition. I am still figuring out what it means to me to be a nurse and that may end up being completely different to what it means to you. Through “Defining Nursing”, I hope to explore all the wonderful aspects of nursing, as well as those parts which aren’t so great.
I write about things I am passionate about, with my inspiration often coming from situations that arise on the wards, topics that were debated in the tearoom, or interesting conversations or articles posted on social media. While some posts will focus on education, the majority will simply be my own personal reflections and ideas. I hope you might connect with some of what I say or see a reflection of your own nursing journey.
I would love for “Defining Nursing” to become a platform where nurses can share their thoughts and ideas, where we can support and encourage each other and further grow our nursing community. To that end, if you would like to submit a guest blog, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope you will comment and share those posts which resonate with you.
As for my definition of nursing, it continues to grow every day. I know we are healers, educators, leaders, advocates, carers and so much more. We are nurses.