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The Changing Role of the Modern Nurse

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Updated: Friday, December 26, 2008 15:12

A Subjective Narrative

When one thinks of a nurse in the traditional sense, the picture of a quiet, motherly, humble caregiver that answers to the doctor's beck and call might be visualized. This, however, is quite an antiquated view of such a dynamic profession. In the changing face of health care, the modern nurse must be looked upon as an innovator, because of his/her critical thinking skills.

Nurses are called upon to be teachers who advocate healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. In the acute care setting, nurses must deal with cost-cutting measures and a limited staff, and continue to find a way to provide competent and compassionate care with fewer and fewer resources. Nurses must be able to organize their care and prioritize tasks, so that patient care is not compromised. Nurses play vital roles in our community setting, where teaching is often the focus. Nurses also act as case managers, independent practitioners, and other vital roles in the community.

Nurses have a great deal of autonomy in the plethora of settings in which they practice. On a daily basis, today's nurse must make a great number of decisions that will ultimately affect the lives he or she touches. Because of the decreased enrollment in nursing schools, the nation is facing a nursing shortage of significant proportion. Without qualified nurses, the health care industry in America is losing its life-blood. It should be a priority of institutions of higher learning to encourage young people to go into this profession, because good health care is synonymous with good nursing care.

Young people can reap the rewards of this respected profession while giving back to the community in which they practice. Opportunities abound today for qualified health care professionals, and those who are ambitious enough to embark on this challenging journey.

The nurse as an obedient servant wearing a white hat is gone. Nurses must now fill roles that are ever-changing, but today's nurse will overcome obstacles using skills, intuition, knowledge base, and experiences to attain these processional goals.

In closing, it is my opinion that nursing is a worthwhile undertaking for anyone interested in a challenging profession. It is a profession with room for advancement and one that will allow a person to make a significant difference in their community as well as humanity.

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