The nature of nursing

Nursing is one of the most important subjects because it deals with human life. This paper will provide evidence to support this argument by citing academic articles to demonstrate the importance of the nursing discipline to the human race. Florence Nightingale, one of the people who best defined the duty and responsibilities of nurses, described nursing for what it was and was not (Henderson, 1964). According to Nightingale, a nurse's responsibility is to provide care to a patient in such a way that the patient is in the greatest possible condition for nature to take its course. Additionally, many of the nurses up to this date still view this definition by Nightingale as the benchmark definition of their career(Fawcett, 1984).

Modern day scholars have also become significant in offering valuable insights into the importance of the discipline of nursing. Virginia Henderson offered her readers an open and straightforward understanding of the role of a nurse (Henderson, 1964). According to Henderson, the duty of a nurse is to assist the people placed under their care especially in their day-to-day activities with emphasis put on those, not in a position to support them. Based on this fact, nursing is more of a calling than a job (Duncan, Cloutier, & Bailey, 2007). Therapeutic communication and working as described in the Occupational Handbook for nurses, a nurse has a course in life which entails caring for the lives of others. It is important since the primary course of humanity is to assist others especially those whom we consider as strangers.

Recently, there was an individual scholar interview carried out by the Nursing Research Sub-Committee on the status of the nursing discipline concerning nursing as a standalone profession including the challenges facing this transformation(Litchfield & Jónsdóttir, 2008; Shaw, 1993). In this interviews conducted by the group of professionals on the scholars, the scientists reported a real understanding got developed within the cooperative groups of nurses, and they were in agreement with the Advanced Practice Nurses(APN)-PhD synergy accomplishments(Butts, Rich, & Fawcett, 2012). The scholars established, transformation of nursing discipline into a well-recognized standalone profession would entail certain improvements and commitments from the nursing fraternity. It would require the conversion of the laid out concepts in the discipline into actual protocols despite the strong ideas that have always been a characteristic of the nursing discipline (Donaldson & Crowley, 1978). According to scholars, building nursing training into a recognized profession would entail mentoring through capacity building for the next generation of nursing Scholars for continuity. It would involve creating outreach programs for doctoral students and emphasizing on regular attendance of meetings by members of the cooperative group.

Socio-political changes have had a significant impact on the nursing discipline, and over the recent years, this has significantly influenced healthcare systems (Maier-Lorentz, 2008). Earlier in the profession, nursing was a duty reserved for women but, however, this stereotypic notion got eradicated in the course of advancement in the discipline. Learning about the history of this subject and the process undertaken in its growth with additional insights into the current flourishing trends in the field of nursing is essential in fostering confidence among those involved with the nursing profession (Henderson, 1964). Accreditation in the area of nursing got facilitated by the need for improvement in the field of healthcare which nursing got established as a critical part (Shaw, 1993). The continuous social changes that took place over the years led to the increase in some government-funded national organizations mandated with the duty of providing nursing training. It was the beginning of the era of recognition for the discipline of nursing as one of the major professions in the provision of healthcare, which got further enhanced through constant public awareness (Litchfield & Jónsdóttir, 2008).

Importance for the studying of the discipline of nursing comes into play in recognition of partnership based nursing (Litchfield & Jónsdóttir, 2008). The focus gets placed on persons living with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and the complexity of their situations plus the need for constant professional care. In such cases, their care is very intensive, and there is care needed both for the patient and the family of the patient due to the physical and emotional strains involved (Laffrey & Isenberg, 1983). Here, there comes the importance of “partnership as practice,” which is a participatory comprehensive theoretical framework embedded in the discipline of nursing. This skill and understanding enable the nurse rise to the occasion in the provision of long-term and interpersonal care to the family needs, which is necessary for reducing the psychological strain brought to the family by the condition of their loved one. The nursing discipline has proved to be well equipped in handling such delicate matters relating to both the health of the patient and that of their immediate family (Gunther & Alligood, 2002).

The discipline of nursing has created the requirement for every registered nurse to get the proper skills and to set the original course of their practice on the compound nursing knowledge explicitly set to their discipline (Butts, Rich, & Fawcett, 2012). Over the past years during the evolution in the nursing sector, the leader’s representatives of the nurses have championed for a unique identity be placed to the persons in the nursing discipline (Litchfield & Jónsdóttir, 2008). However, during this period, there has been a variance in the opinion of the scholars specialized in the field of nursing. The researchers have shifted over the years focusing their research on the need for new nurses to use interdisciplinary frameworks. Scholars in the discipline of nursing have consistently raised the need for the nurses to focus on the importance of Interdisciplinary practice (Butts et al., 2012).

Interdisciplinary frameworks provide for the necessity of the academic institutions to make a commitment with the healthcare providers on an inter-professional education basis (Butts et al., 2012). It has placed nurses in a position, where they have to choose whether to stick to their traditional practice or step up to the interdisciplinary way of thinking and operating. Nurses have always had reluctance in acting where their roles are ambiguous, and the boundaries of their operations are not well set due to the delicacy of the service they offer (Butts et al., 2012). The nurse leaders, on the other hand, have always held their ground when it comes to the persisting issue of blending the nursing with other disciplines that may end up diluting their significance in patient care. According to some modern scholars in this field, interdisciplinary practice is difficult to achieve due to the need for members in each area to understand the roles and responsibility in their practice (Butts et al., 2012; Donaldson & Crowley, 1978).


From the points brought about in this paper, the role of nurses is well illustrated, and their place in the society is unrivaled by any. It supports the need for the study of the discipline of nursing due to the services provided by the nurses which are not only important to the patients as we saw in cases of chronic pulmonary diseases, but is important to the people close to the patients. There is a need for proper education in the field of nursing and scholars should find ways of making the integration of interdisciplinary practice a reality since this will assist the nurses fully perform their duties with proper knowledge and confidence. As discussed above, the issue of Interdisciplinary practice is well emphasized by Fawcett since this is critical to the identity of the nurses (Fawcett, 1984). The interview conducted by Butts on Fawcett, it is prudent there is a deep need for the study of the discipline of nursing due to the unmatched care the nurses provide to the patients under their care. Also, it is important to note as discussed above in the interview with Fawcett, the foundation and solidarity of the science of nursing hinges on the independence of this discipline (Butts et al., 2012).


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Butts, J.B., Rich, K.L., & Fawcett, J. (2012). The future of nursing: How important is discipline-specific knowledge? A conversation with Jacqueline Fawcett. Nursing Science Quarterly, 25(2), 151–154.

Donaldson, S.K., & Crowley, D.M. (1978).The discipline of nursing. Nursing Outlook, 26(2), 113.

Duncan, C., Cloutier, J. D., & Bailey, P. H. (2007). Concept analysis: the importance of differentiating the ontological focus. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 58(3), 293–300.

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Gunther, M., & Alligood, M.R. (2002).A discipline-specific determination of high quality nursing care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 38(4), 353–359.

Henderson, V. (1964).The nature of nursing. The American Journal of Nursing, 62–68.

Laffrey, S.C., & Isenberg, M. (1983). The relationship of internal locus of control, value placed on health, perceived importance of exercise, and participation in physical activity during leisure. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 20(3), 187–196.

Litchfield, M.C., & Jónsdóttir, H. (2008). A practice discipline that’s here and now. Advances in Nursing Science, 31(1), 79–91.

Maier-Lorentz, M.M. (2008). Transcultural nursing: Its importance in nursing practice. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 15(1), 37.

Shaw, M.C. (1993). The discipline of nursing: historical roots, current perspectives, future directions. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 18(10), 1651–1656.

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