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Definition of a Nurse

Kimberly J. Stults
Medical College of Ohio

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Webster defines nurse as one that looks after, fosters or advises.  While that may be a nice start, they havenít got a clue.  Nursing cannot be defined by a simple few words.

Nursing is when a smile, a gentle touch of the hand, a good IV stick, and an enema bag are all considered therapeutic.

Nursing is when you begin to listen with your heart and hear with your soul an old womanís story, a childís cry, a dying heart, and a comatose patientís needs.

Nursing is when you see beyond the skin color, religion, culture, and gender, to the human being.

Nursing is when you assess courage and spirit in scars, a shaven head attesting to recovery after a blood clot in the brain, a healed stump telling the tale of the struggle with diabetes, and a womanís chest bearing the medal of breast cancer survival.

Nursing is when you have the knowledge (for dogs are trained, nurses are educated) to administer the daily pills, rig a sling, give a shot, and wing using the new piece of equipment nobody inserviced you on.

Nursing is when the thank you is not always verbal, a patientís relaxed, sleeping face after a pain shot, a first time momís joyful expression at her newborn nursing, a dignified death and the sight of poop after that enema bag.

Nursing is an art, an art of caring.


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