What Is a Nurse?

Nurses are some of the most crucial workers in the healthcare industry. The profession makes up the majority of healthcare providers and helps to save lives each day. Learn more about this vital career and how to become a nurse. Read about the various opportunities in the field and why the industry continues to be in demand.

Being a Nurse

Nurses are the most versatile and trusted healthcare professionals in the industry. These experts help to treat several critical areas of medical and health concerns. The position naturally requires technical skills like medical expertise and best practices for patient care. Likewise, the job requires careful multitasking, long hours, and often life-saving performance. The role of a registered nurse exists in different types of medical care and can vary in workload, salary, and responsibility.

A nurse helps to administer medical care to patients ranging from newborns to the elderly. Nurses do not often hold a doctorate like medical doctors but share just as much of the responsibility for patient care. The role exists as one of the essential professions in the world. Without nurses, several aspects of the healthcare industry would be impossible, including patient attention, treatment, and recovery.

There are several ways to view the role of a registered nurse, and some types of parts involve a higher salary than others. Despite different pay grades, I believe this vital role in medical care cannot receive enough praise. You and I owe a lot to nurses. Whether you want to become a nurse or learn more, I think it’s important to review all aspects of the role to appreciate the position truly.

A Sprinkle of Passion and Empathy

Nursing holds a special place within the field of medicine. Unlike doctors, nurses focus more on people and how to choose different types of treatment. This fact isn’t to say that doctors don’t care about their patients, just that they tend to focus on the disease the patient has and how to treat it. Nurses also treat the illness but incorporate a great deal of patient care outside of medicine. This role often means improving the general quality of life through collaborative work with family, therapists, and others.

A Dash of Hard Work

A career in nursing means a lot of education, even after the first degree. Nurses need to have a license in their state and then, depending on the country and its regulations, do ongoing education courses to keep the license. This education at all stages can be severe, but you can find material in the nursing articles and books here on Dave4Math to help prepare you at all levels. Just be sure you know what your state requires and that you follow its rules.

Within nursing, as a whole, is a wide range of specialties. Nurses need varying types of educational qualifications that range from 1-year certificates to Ph.D.’s. The necessary education level just depends on the role you intend to do, but most still start with a science degree. Degrees are then followed by one to four years of training, depending on the level of entry.

Nursing Articles

Nursing as a modern profession of registered professionals started in the early 1900s, but the field’s roots go much deeper than that. In just the fifth century BC, skilled attendants cared for patients in much the same way as modern nurses in terms of providing types of care for improving their well-being. This element is the primary theme of nursing that continues to t his day. Nurses work to apply their knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics to the job of improving the quality of life of other people. This knowledge can mean preventing illness, curing it, or just alleviating symptoms to reduce patients’ suffering. The nursing articles in this category cover the details of the field as a career, the types of environments nurses work on, current advancements in the area, and much more.

Articles on the History and Background of Nursing

The earliest descriptions of nurse-like attendants in various parts of the world are sometimes challenging for historians to classify as technically “nurses.” This reality is due to the limited information available about them, as well as the full definition of nursing. Generally, people trying to improve the overall well-being of others form the basis of the description. This fact makes members of religious orders some of the most common early nurses. In all of the world’s main religions, nuns, monks, and other religious leaders provided care to their members and other people in need. This spiritual root still exists in modern nursing, influencing much of the contemporary ethos of the profession.

The Modern Role of a Nurse

In the first years of the 1800s, the foundations of professional credentials arose. The primary school of nursing began on Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing from the mid-1800s. Several Catholic orders were building hospitals to provide nursing services at the time. In the latter half of the century, nurses started participating in active duty in the military. Although, the profession began as a cheap or free source of labor due to it being primarily women.

During the last century or so, the profession has become more gender-neutral with tighter regulations necessitating certain levels of credentials. It has also gained scope and skill requirements such that many consider being a nurse close in difficulty to being a medical doctor. To see how the field is growing, check out the nursing articles on recent advancements and current events. You can also find items on the more scientific and research side of the field.

Nursing Articles Scope

Nursing covers a vast range of areas. Nurses can work with patients of all genders and ages, from the newly born to those on their death beds. The can practice preventative medicine on healthy individuals, curative medicine on the sick, and alleviative medicine on the terminally ill. Individual nurses can perform diagnosis and give prescriptions to patients. And still, others work in management, education, and health policy. From the start of life to the brink of death, nurses provide the care and attention that patients need. The nursing articles here help you explore every nook and cranny of the field.

Difference from Doctors

Nurses have an approach that differentiates them from doctors, in addition to having a broader scope and different training. They provide not only scientific information to diagnose and treat illness but also support on other various levels. They take into consideration not only the physical needs of patients but also their emotional, intellectual, social, psychological, and spiritual needs. This fact might be because of the profession’s deep roots in spiritual and religious orders. Their training and credentials also give them different levels of prescription authority than doctors, and typically a lower level of ultimate responsibility for each patient. If a nurse works under a doctor, then the patient they share is ultimately the responsibility of the doctor. As you read the nursing articles in this category, you’ll start to notice these differences more and more.

Independent vs. Interdependent Nursing

An exception to the above-stated difference in roles between doctors and nurses is in the case of independent nursing. Independent nursing is the practice in which the nurse is solely responsible. The position exists without working for or under another health care professional or authority such as a doctor. Independent nurses will work with patients directly, tailoring plans to optimize and individualize types of medical responsibility. They then administer all care, from general nursing to advanced medical care. Interdependent nursing, on the other hand, is when nurses work collaboratively with different roles such as physicians and other nurses to treat a patient.

Careers in Nursing

Nursing practice undergoes regulation via laws at national and state levels in most countries. The education and other credentials necessary to become a nurse vary significantly by country. But, all require extensive study, practice, and dedication. In the US, one must first complete a nursing degree at an accredited university. Next, students follow up by sitting for a nurse licensing exam. The exam, called the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a standardized exam. Students prepare for the test by using study books and practice tests. I think you may find resources in the nursing articles here to help with preparation. You might even connect with alternative means of development.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

In the US, licensed practical nurses work under the direction of physicians. In this position, they interdependently provide care primarily to sick, injured, and disabled people. Their jobs often consist of providing primary bedside care, including taking and monitoring vital signs. The role also includes performing lab work and medical equipment maintenance.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses in the US have graduated from a nursing program and obtained a nursing license. They are primarily regulated by legislation and professional organizations, rather than directed by another healthcare professional. They can be responsible for supervising other healthcare workers, such as licensed practical nurses.

Salary Expectations for a Nurse

According to the statistics on the profession, a nurse’s median salary as of 2018 was about 71,000 dollars per year. The increase in jobs in the industry is also much faster than that of other professions. The BLS projects that over 438,000 jobs will expand the pool in the next decade. For anyone willing to work hard for the noble cause of helping people, this profession provides the opportunity to both do good and make a decent living. If you’re curious about joining the field, this category also contains nursing articles with examples of such admirable professionals.

Nursing Books

In the US, most people have met a nurse at some point or another. Many of us meet them immediately upon entering the world in the delivery ward of a hospital. Others feel their helping hand when they’re sick or healing from surgery. And still, others benefit from the presence and care of nurses softening their final days in life. Read the reviews on nursing books here to learn about the world of difference nurses make and how they do it.

Nursing Books Healthcare people group Professional doctor working in hospital office or clinic with other doctors nurse and surgeon Medical technology research institute

Nursing Books for Getting Down to the Basics

In school, the topics of most significant importance will, at first, be sciences such as biology and chemistry. You’ll start experiencing more nurse-specific education after a couple of years. At this point, you should choose from one of the hundred or so nursing specialties, such as burn care, geriatrics, hospice, or radiology. Some specialties need special education, so it’s best to know which one you want to do as soon as possible.

For those looking for help through their studies or to widen the breadth of their professional knowledge, the nursing books here have you covered. Material like Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe can give readers a boost in learning about complicated topics. This book especially looks into the tough decisions nurses have to make and how to best use available information to do so.

Types of Nurse Responsibilities

On the job, nurses perform many tasks across various roles. These tasks range from performing physical exams, getting health histories, and providing medical care to working with other members of the medical team, doing research, and supervising staff. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) also has duties and salary levels that extend beyond these.

For example, a nurse practitioner can specialize in acute care, child health, or women’s health, to name a few. A certified nurse-midwife provides obstetric care. There are a few different advanced practices to choose from, so read up to see where you fit in the nursing sphere. The nursing books here can then help you build foundations in the areas that interest you most.

One area of nursing is hospice care. In this specific niche, nurses focus primarily on roles that ease discomfort and increase happiness towards the end of life. Putting effort into getting to know patients and their families is as essential for this line of work as medicine itself. This category of nursing books in Dave4Math walks you through the unique traits of various nursing positions like this and how to join their ranks. You can read books such as Nursing Care at the End of Life to learn specifics about the different types.

Nurse FAQ

If you have more questions about the salary or types of responsibilities related to becoming a nurse, then I think these could be helpful.

What exactly does a nurse do?

Nurses consist of the most significant workforce in healthcare and medicine. The job of a nurse is to provide medical care and treatment for patients of all ages. Like a doctor, these professionals study medicine and biology to become experts in the field. Without nurses, nearly 80% of all medical care would be impossible to administer.

What kind of nurses get paid the most?

Nurses who work in leadership positions or heads of departments make the most money. Other types of nurses can also earn a significant salary. For example, several independent nurses who travel to where the work is can make a substantial salary. Finding ways to work up in the job pool tends to lead to a better paying role.

Why do you become a nurse?

Many professionals who study to become a nurse do so to help people. The job involves a lot of medical care for patients who need assistance. The situation is tough sometimes and results in unfortunate deaths. Luckily, the role also entails saving lives. The position is highly stressful but can fit individuals with high levels of empathy quite well.

What are the benefits of being a nurse?

One of the main benefits of becoming a nurse is endless job security. Society will always require the role of nurses, which makes the position one of the most hirable professions. There are several opportunities to make high salaries and earn leadership roles, as well. Not to mention, the job involves saving lives and caring for others.


Registered and independent nurses help ensure the well-being of millions of people each day. The average salary of nurses might be less than doctors, but they are no less important. Nurses provide more care per patient than doctors. While salary and educational requirements are lower, nurses hold as many responsibilities as those with a Ph. D. Some registered nurses can even go on to earn a Ph. D. in nursing to take on new leadership roles. These new endeavors usually yield better job opportunities and salary expectations.

Registered and independent nurses find work quickly and care for patients daily. The job is highly rewarding if you want to care for others. I think the stress of nursing can scare some potential students away, but the situation is also quite enjoyable. While caring for patients is hard, many enjoy developing a personal relationship with those they help. For this reason, salary expectations, and the robust job market, satisfaction among nurses is often high.

Explore Educational Topics and Subjects

If you want to gain a new skill or find a new career, then I think you should explore Dave4Math. Learn more about the role of registered nurses and many other career paths. By comparing job descriptions, salary expectations, and more, you can discover new opportunities around every corner. Get started today by using the free resources on Dave4Math to explore subjects across all academic disciplines.

How do nurses differ from doctors in the care of patients?

What might nurses do to increase their role in the profession?

David A. Smith at Dave4Math

David Smith (Dave) has a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics and has enjoyed teaching precalculus, calculus, linear algebra, and number theory at both the junior college and university levels for over 20 years. David is the founder and CEO of Dave4Math.

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