Define Nurse

The word "nurse" has a different definition to each person. In this article, I researched where the word "nurse" came from and went in-depth to what the word "nurse" meant to me. Nursing Students General Students Article

Define Nurse

The word "nurse" is derived from the Latin word nutrire which means "to nourish." The word nurse also has its roots in another Latin noun, nutrix which means "nursing mother," often referring to a wet nurse (a woman who breast fed her babies).

The French term nourrice is also referred to a woman who suckled a child. The term was first used in English in the 13th century. As time went on other dimensions were added to its meaning throughout the evolution of the word.

By the 16th century the meanings of a "nurse" included "a woman who waits upon or tends to the sick."

More components were added during the 19th century; "training of those who tend to the sick and carrying out of such duties under direction of a physician."

The word "nurse" underwent many forms of spellings and definitions and in this day and time Webster Dictionary defines nurse as "a person who is trained to care for sick or injured people and who usually works in a hospital or doctor's office (Merriam)."

Probably one of the most well known names associated with nursing is Clara Barton.

She is one of the most honored women in American history, not only because of her great deeds and service but also because of her nursing skills that saved lives.

Clara was born in 1821 and was the daughter of Captain Stephen Barton, a member of the local militia and a politician (Wikipedia). As Clara grew up she spent most of her time playing with her brother and male cousins. At the age of ten, Clara assigned herself to her first task of nursing.

Her brother David fell from the roof of a barn and received a severe injury. She learned how to distribute the prescribed medication to her brother, as well as how to place leeches on his body to bleed him.

She continued to care for David long after doctors had given up. Miraculously, David made a full recovery and lived. In 1861 the American Civil War began and Clara's father was dying. before he passed, Barton was able to talk to him about the war effort.

Her father convinced her that it was her duty as a Christian to help the soldiers. As soon as Clara's father died, Clara traveled to Washington to gather medical supplies. The Ladies' Aid societies helped by sending bandages, food, and clothing that would later be distributed during the Civil War.

In the August of 1862, Barton finally gained permission from Quartermaster Rucker to work on the front lines to help wounded soldiers. In 1864 she was appointed by Union General Benjamin Butler as the "lady in charge" of the hospitals at the front of the Army of the James (Wikipedia)."

Clara Barton's story shows that even though she didn't have a formal education or training to be a nurse she still became one of the most renowned nurses in history and made a path for other women to follow in the medical world. Ms. Barton's story also shows us just one example of areas nurses can serve in.

Nurses cannot only be found in the traditional places such as hospitals and doctor's offices but also places we may never think of. Nurses serve in all branches of the military, including the battlefield. Nurses can also be employed in unusual places like oil and gas refineries, correction facilities or prisons, Native American reservations and schools including universities.

If a nurse needs a change of scenery, nurses can even take jobs at summer specialty camps. Usually these occur over the summer break and are for kids with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or muscular dystrophy. Many times these camps often provide housing for the nurse and her family for the summer.

If that isn't enough of a get away for a nurse then there are travel nurses. Travel nurses serve in positions that are hard to fill usually due to the location and remoteness of the area. These nurses fill the void for a few months at a time before being given a break and then being assigned to another location

Not only can nurses work in a variety of places, they can also work at a variety of jobs within nursing. Many nurses select specialty careers in hospitals such as a labor and delivery nurse, a neonatal or newborn nurse, or a surgical nurse, but more than half of nurses do something other than hospital staff nursing.

Nurses have taken jobs in medical equipment and supply manufacturing. Flight nursing cares for patients while they are being moved via helicopter or plane.

Forensic nursing cares for and supports victims of sexual abuse or violent crimes. This nurse not only collects evidence for a pending court case but also serves as a great support for the victims following the critical hours after the crime.

Nurses also have become educators as they train not only the next generation of nurses but also instruct many patients in the care of their chronic disease such as diabetes.

Nurses can be found editing medical journals and books or working in drug treatment centers.

Legal nurses are paid by lawyers to give advice about medical details in court cases. And finally there are even "Wall Street Nurses" who mediate and underwrite securities for investments.

A wise author named Dr. Seuss entitled one of his famous books "Oh, the Places You Can Go!" and even though he wasn't referring to nursing, he definitely could have been. From the humble beginnings of Clara Barton to unlimited possibilities, nursing has turned into a career that can definitely take you places

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Nurses cannot only be found in the traditional places such as hospitals and doctor's offices but also places we may never think of. Nurses serve in all branches of the military, including the battlefield.

I suppose it's probably just my perspective, but I find it interesting that the military would be a non-traditional location for nurses to serve. Nursing, specifically in the US, has deep roots in the military. The profession has found its feet through wars like the Civil War, WWI and WWII.

Nurses are now into informatics as well.

Many nurses work as consultants, a lot of them work in this capacity for insurance companies.

Military nursing can't really be considered "nontraditional" - MASH units in the Korean War had plenty of nurses. loved that movie & TV show BTW

Actually, nursing has a lot of job opportunities and it continues to grow in the future. Technology is turning everything into an endless world of possibilities that we can't imagine. Who knows where can nurses be in the next 10 years? Just a thought.

Specializes in Med-Surg.

Nursing Informatics is a fascinating aspect of nursing that should definitely be explored if possible