Nurses are health care professionals with direct responsibility for patient care. Nurses work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, schools, corporations, and many other settings. In hospitals, nurses provide care under a treatment plan prescribed by doctors, but often have considerable responsibility for managing the details of the patient's daily care. In other settings, nurses may be the first health care professional seen by a patient, and may be responsible for recommending treatment in conjunction with the doctor. Nurses combine medical expertise with strong interpersonal skills and a desire to help people.

To become a nurse, high school courses in math and science are required. Nurse training programs are offered at hospitals, junior colleges, community colleges, and four-year colleges. The degree of training offered by each differs, as does the advancement possible as a result. Following graduation from the training program, the student must pass a state licensure exam to become a registered nurse (RN), and is then able to work as a nurse. Further education allows the RN to obtain a master's degree in nursing. This is required to become a nurse practitioner (a nurse who performs many of the same functions as a family-practice doctor), a nurse-midwife (provides care to maternity patients), or several other nursing specialties.

SEE ALSO Doctor, Family Practice ; Medical Assistant ; Nurse Practitioner

Richard Robinson


National Student Nurses' Association. <> .


English nurse, founder of the profession of nursing and one of the first scientists to use statistical analysis. Nightingale used sophisticated data analysis, presented in diagrams, to persuade English authorities to make reforms necessary to save the lives of wounded soldiers in military hospitals in Turkey.

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