Nursing is an art and a science as well as a humanitarian service. It is a unique profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities. Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing. She laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas Hospital, London in 1860. Nurses play a vital role in the health care system of any country whose main goals are to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent diseases, alleviate suffering and rehabilitate individuals that are differently abled. Therefore, most of the countries have strengthened their nursing profession through degree level education and specialization in selected fields of nursing in order to provide effective and efficient health care for the public.
Nursing is identified as a profession based on the criteria that a profession must have; a systematic body of knowledge that provides the framework for the profession’s practice, standardized formal higher education, commitment to providing a service that benefits individuals and the community, maintenance of a unique role that recognizes autonomy, responsibility and accountability, control of practice responsibility of the profession through standards and a code of ethics, evidence based practice and commitment to members of the profession through professional organizations and activities.
The nurse’s primary professional responsibility is providing nursing care for patients, family and community. Nurses are accountable for facilitating safe and therapeutic environment for the patients, delivering holistic and personalized care, maintaining accurate and up to date records and report, protecting patient’s legal rights and privacy, maintaining collaborative relationship with other health workers , working within ethical and legal boundaries, delegating responsibility appropriately, providing health education, focusing on evidence-based practice and contributing to the professional development.