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NursingDefinitionAlthough nursing practice varies both through its various specialties andcountries, these nursing organizations offer the following definitions: Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individualsof all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well, and in allsettings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness,and the care of ill, disabled and dying people. Advocacy, promotion of asafe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and inpatient and health systems management, and education are also keynursing roles.International Council of Nurses[The use of clinical judgment in the provision of care to enable people toimprove, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and toachieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability,until death. Royal College of Nursing (2003)Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health andabilities; prevention of illness and injury; alleviation of suffering through thediagnosis and treatment of human responses; and advocacy in health carefor individuals, families, communities, and populations. American Nurses AssociatioThe unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, inthe performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (orto peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessarystrength, will or knowledge.As a professionThe authority for the practice of nursing is based upon a social contract thatdelineates professional rights and responsibilities as well as mechanismsfor public accountability. In almost all countries, nursing practice is definedand governed by law, and entrance to the profession is regulated at thenational or state level.The aim of the nursing community worldwide is for its professionals toensure quality care for all, while maintaining their credentials, code ofethics, standards, and competencies, and continuing their education.[47]There are a number of educational paths to becoming a professional nurse,which vary greatly worldwide; all involve extensive study of nursing theoryand practice as well as training in clinical skills.Nurses care for individuals of all ages and cultural backgrounds who arehealthy and ill in a holistic manner based on the individual's physical,emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs. Theprofession combines physical science, social science, nursing theory, andtechnology in caring for those individuals.To work in the nursing profession, all nurses hold one or more credentialsdepending on their scope of practice and education. In the United States, aLicensed Practical Nurse (LPN) works independently or with a RegisteredNurse (RN). The most significant difference between an LPN and RN isfound in the requirements for entry to practice, which determinesentitlement for their scope of practice. RNs provide scientific, psychological,and technological knowledge in the care of patients and families in manyhealth care settings. RNs may earn additional credentials or degrees.In the United States, multiple educational paths will qualify a candidate tosit for the licensure examination as an RN. The Associate Degree inNursing (ADN) is awarded to the nurse who has completed a two-yearundergraduate academic degree awarded by community colleges, juniorcolleges, technical colleges, and bachelor's degree-granting colleges anduniversities upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years.It is also referred to as Associate in Nursing (AN), Associate of AppliedScience in Nursing (AAS), or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN).[51]The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is awarded to the nurse who hasearned an American four-year academic degree in the science andprinciples of nursing, granted by a tertiary education university or similarlyaccredited school. After completing either the LPN or either RN educationprograms in the United States, graduates are eligible to sit for a licensingexamination to become a nurse, the passing of which is required for thenursing license. The National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) test is astandardized exam (including multiple choice, select all that apply, fill in theblank and "hot spot" questions) that nurses take to become licensed. Itcosts two-hundred dollars to take and examines a nurses ability to properlycare for a client. Study books and practice tests are available for purchase.[52]Some nurses follow the traditional role of working in a hospital setting.Other options include: pediatrics, neonatal, maternity, OBGYN, geriatrics,ambulatory, and nurse anesthetists and informatics (eHealth). There aremany other options nurses can explore depending on the type of degreeand education acquired. These options can also include, community health,mental health, clinical nursing specialists, and nurse midwives.[53] RNsmay also pursue different roles as advanced practice nurses.Nurses are not doctors' assistants. This is possible in certain situations, butnurses more often are independently caring for their patients or assistingother nurses.[54] RNs treat patients, record their medical history, provideemotional support, and provide follow-up care. Nurses also help doctorsperform diagnostic tests. Nurses are almost always working on their own orwith other nurses. However, they also assist doctors in the emergencyroom or in trauma care when help is needed.Gender issuesDespite equal opportunity legislation, nursing has continued to be a female-dominated profession in many countries; according to the WHO's 2020State of the World's Nursing, approximately 90% of the nursing workforce isfemale.[56] For instance, the male-to-female ratio of nurses isapproximately 1:19 in Canada and the United States.[57][58] This ratio isrepresented around the world. Notable exceptions include FrancophoneAfrica, which includes the countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon,Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti,Guinea, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Togo,which all have more male than female nurses.[59]

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Stanford AFRICAST 141A - Nursing

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