role of nursing“You might be a nurse if, when you get a call telling you the name of your next admit , you can do the care plan before the patient gets to the floor” (Nurse Tips, 2011). Nurses have evolved tremendously throughout history. From the beginning of time when wars or epidemics were raging, women (primarily) took on the role as “nurse”. The title hardly describes what we are today, but throughout time, the nurse has always maintained the caring quality that has stood the test of time. Long ago, nurses played large roles as fair maidens helping the wounded. Some women even took on decorated officer roles in order to control medical supplies and coordinate care (The Evolution of Nursing, 2010).

One of my classmates once commented that her nursing instructor told a tale of their only contact with a stethoscope was to hand it to the provider. Amazingly enough, this really was true. Twenty years ago, we rarely used our stethoscopes except while in nursing school. One had to search a drawer for a blood pressure cuff.

Even as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and then transitioning to a Registered Nurse (RN), nursing has evolved. As a new graduate LPN, my first position was as a Charge Nurse. We did mostly tasks, just as a RN, but didn’t have the same scope. As I grew as a LPN and then pursued a RN degree, nursing was changing daily. By the time I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Nursing and obtained my RN, LPN’s were no longer permitted any part of the blood transfusion process. An unlicensed nursing assistant could go and get the blood from the lab, but a LPN could not. In some facilities, LPN’s are being phased out. RN’s have infiltrated many different areas of nursing, such as Forensics, Information Technology, Risk Management and Legal.

The role of the “nurse” is not what it once was, nor can you simply pick a nurse from a line up merely from her place of employment. Nursing has evolved tremendously throughout the years bearing greater responsibility and autonomy with each passing year. No longer is the “nurse” who just dressed your bandages. We, as nurses, have proven we are capable of so much more than once was ever expected.

References:

Nurse Tips. (2011). Retrieved October 18, 2011, from Life Tips: Move up in Life:                 http://nurse.lifetips.com/cat/59407/quotes-on-nursing/index.html

The Evolution of Nursing. (2010, June 16). Retrieved October 18, 20100, from NWHM National Women’s History Museum: http://www.nwhm.org/blog/the-evolution-of-nursing/