Nursing is a health care profession which focuses on the care of individuals, families and communities so they can achieve, maintain or recover optimal health and quality of life. During the 19th century English nurse Florence Nightingale laid the foundation for professional nursing today.
Florence Nightingale, a 19th century English nurse
In Canada, there are three types of nurses: registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs). Most nurses are RNs, who are self-regulated health care professionals that work both on their own and as part of a team.
In order to become a registered nurse, one has to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from an accredited university. Afterwards, nursing graduates write a national standardized nursing exam to test their competency before they may register as a nurse. Once they apply for registration by their governing board of nurses (which differs by province, state and country), they are officially a registered nurse.
Nurses practice in a full range of settings including clinical care, education, administration, research and policy. RNs can work in busy intensive care units or in small neighbourhood health clinics. They can provide preventive care by running health and safety programs. RNs can do research in all areas of nursing care. Additionally, they can work in the administration of hospitals and in the government working on policy.