In the world of healthcare, nursing has long struggled to establish itself as a profession. Dictionary terms describe nursing as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation; a principal calling, vocation, or employment; the whole body of persons engaged in a calling.”
Throughout the history of nursing, unfavorable stereotypes (based on the view of nursing as subservient and dependent on the medical profession) have negatively affected the view of nursing as an independent entity.
In its early developmental years, nursing did not seek or have the means to control its own practice. Florence Nightingale, in discussing the nature of nursing in 1859, observed that “nursing has been limited to signify little more than the administration of medicines and the application of poultices.”
Nursing is now recognized as both a science and an art concerned with the physical, psychological, sociological, cultural, and spiritual concerns of the individual.
The science of nursing is based on a broad theoretical framework; its art depends on the caring skills and abilities of the individual nurse.