Nursing is a dynamic profession built upon a foundation of art and science. It has adapted to rapidly changing technology, rising patient acuity, and weathered the challenge of nursing shortages with an unwavering commitment to professionalism. In this paper I will discuss my beliefs and values, my vision for the future, and my strengths and limitation in pursuing my career goals. I will also reflect upon the influences that contributed to choosing nursing as a profession.
Choice of Nursing
In truth, a wide range of career possibilities did not exist in Southern Indiana where I grew up. You could work at the recently opened Toyota factory, or you could work in a hospital. Neither of those was an option for me because I did not graduate from high school. After becoming a wife and mother at age sixteen, it took two more years to realize there must be something more to life. This was the first step to a career as a Medical Assistant, and the first of many years spent in college.
During the three years as a Medical Assistant, I realized that I was not quite satisfied with my current career. The next logical step was nursing school. For the next two years I worked as a waitress in a night club while attending nursing classes during the day. The three things I learned was perseverance of spirit, supernatural time management skills, and superb interpersonal communication. I dodged drunks and broke up fights, now I dodge bedpans and participate in conflict resolution. Although this was not a typical career path, life experiences contributed to a unique understanding of people and patients.
Why choose nursing? I needed to succeed at something; I needed to prove that I could do something important. I became a nurse for me. Now I can meet the needs of my patients.
Essence of Nursing
In the 1930’s "nursing" included a variety of non-nursing tasks such as scrubbing floors, carrying trays, and cleaning equipment, in addition to the so-called routine care of patients. By the 1940’s many more tasks and procedures were being performed by nurses as a result of the introduction of new innovations in health care. Nursing functions then included blood pressure measurement, suctioning in a variety of conditions, transfusion assistance, oxygen administration, medication injection, and other more sophisticated techniques (Dennison 1942). With the advent of new drugs, new techniques, and new technologies, the patient care of today is significantly different from that of Florence Nightingale’s time. As nursing stands poised between the past and the future, we must not forget that the central goal of all nursing practice is to improve the quality of life and relieve suffering (Chitty, 2001).
The core of nursing emphasizes the facilitation of healing, prevention of complications, and the promotion of health, but it should also address psychosocial and spiritual needs of the patient. As nurses, we should incorporate a whole-person approach into our...