Nursing is a medical field composed of of health professionals who attend to patients and assist physicians. Nurses may give shots and medications, monitor patients' conditions, comfort patients, etc. Nursing requires a strong back, a strong stomach, and emotional fortitude, as nurses typically have to do the hard physical labor and "dirty work" that physicians don't deal with in caring for patients.

The precise educational requirements for nurses varies by state and country. In Texas and other U.S. states, licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) must complete a two-year degree program; registered nurses (RNs) must complete a 4-year undergraduate degree. Nurse practitioners, who are educated to do a wide range of medical diagnoses and treatments and are often employed in lieu of physicians at clinics, must obtain a specialized master's degree.

Nursing assistants (who frequently work at nursing homes as well as hospitals) are para-professionals who may be required gain a certification that requires a few month's study before they can gain employment.

In the U.S., National Nurses Day is observed on May 6 and opens National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

The current classifications for nurses in the United States are:

--LPN - Licenced Practical Nurse - 1 year of school, can do all direct patient care except for intravenous therapy unless they complete a post-graduate IV Therapy course. Does not complete care plans in most facilities, with extended-care facilities being the exception, as LPNs are typically the highest level in such facilities.

--RN - Registered Nurse - 2 years of school for an ADN, 4 years of school for a BSN. RNs complete all nursing tasks with patients, including planning care, administering medications (including IV), and holding administrative positions in most health-care facilities.

Beyond BSN, amount of school varies for the specific MSN track persued. Nurse practitioner and nursing instructor are only two of a myriad of choices.

Additionally, there STNAs who have the most basic nursing skills and are there assist the nurses in their tasks. STNA is replacing the older term of CNA. In extended-care facilities, STNAs perform the bulk of the direct care tasks such as bathing, feeding, taking vital signs, and changing linens but do not administer medications or perform any other major nursing procedures.

Nurs"ing, a.

Supplying or taking nourishment from, or as from, the breast; as, a nursing mother; a nursing infant.


© Webster 1913.

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