Thursday, October 26, 2006
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This is a TEST POST. A nurse is a health care professional who is engaged in the practice of nursing. Nurses are responsible—along with other health care professionals—for the treatment, safety, and recovery of acutely or chronically ill or injured people, health maintenance of the healthy, and treatment of life-threatening emergencies in a wide range of health care settings. Nurses may also be involved in medical and nursing research and perform a wide range of non-clinical functions necessary to the delivery of health care.
Nursing education, regulation, roles, and titles vary in different countries, but in general reflect an increasing level of responsibility and status.
Nurses develop and implement a plan of care and work collaboratively with the patient, the patient's family, and other health care professionals and para-professionals. Nurses help coordinate the patient care performed by other members of a health care team such as physical therapists, medical practitioners, social workers, and dietitians. Nurses frequently act as patient advocate.
The nursing career structure varies considerably throughout the world. Typically there are several distinct levels of nursing practitioner distinguished by increasing education, responsibility, and skills. The major distinction is between task-based nursing and professional nursing. Nurses throughout the world are increasingly employed as advanced practice nurses, such as clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners, who diagnose health problems and prescribe medications and other therapies. At the top of the educational ladder is the doctoral-prepared nurse. Nurses may gain a PhD or another doctoral degree, specializing in research, clinical nursing, and so forth. These nurses practice nursing, teach nursing, and carry out nursing research. As the science and art of nursing has advanced, so has the demand for doctoral-prepared nurses.
In various parts of the world, the educational background for nurses varies widely. In some parts of eastern Europe, nurses are high school graduates with twelve to eighteen months of training. In contrast, Chile requires any registered nurse to have at least a bachelor's degree.
Nurses are the largest group of providers in the health care system--there are over two million registered nurses in the United States of America (U.S.) alone, comprising about 13% of the fifteen million workers in the health care and social assistance category tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Nursing is one of the most female-dominated occupations but the number of males entering the profession is increasing. For example, in the U.S., only 5.4% of the registered nurse population was male in 2000, but that percent represented a 226% increase in two decades.
Government regulates the profession of nursing to protect the public.
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