NursingNursing - art and science

Launched January 2017 Updated January 2020 8 lectures

The International Council of Nurses describes nursing as having four fundamental responsibilities: to promote health, prevent illness, restore health, and alleviate suffering. In delivering these responsibilities, nurses work with a wide range of other healthcare professions and in numerous different healthcare delivery systems. In most of the world, the title... read moreof registered nurse is protected in law and practitioners are bound by a professional code of practice. Nurses provide person-centred, holistic and collaborative care for people of all ages, working with families and wider communities. Nursing roles have evolved to meet the changing health needs of the world’s population. These changing needs include an ageing population, increasing numbers of people with co-morbidities, the rise in non-communicable diseases and rise in long-term conditions. Nursing has also been shaped by advances in healthcare, which have impacted on care delivery and outcomes for patients. In addition, society’s expectations of healthcare and the increased availability of information, have led to a change in nurse-patient relationships to partnership models, with support for self-management and empowerment.

Nurses comprise the largest part of the healthcare workforce in many healthcare systems and therefore have an enormous privilege and responsibility to provide and lead direct care and to work as part of a multi professional team at all stages of healthcare, from public health through to end of life care. Commissioners and managers of healthcare together with educators should be constantly exploring how nursing can adapt to contribute to strategic goals and improve care quality whilst remaining constant to their core contribution to healthcare delivery and patient care experiences.

This series will cover four key areas within nursing. The first area is the nurse’s role and contribution to healthcare experiences. The talks in this section will focus on core aspects of the nurse’s contribution to people’s health and well-being. Caring relationships and ethical practice are central to effective and dignified nursing for people who access healthcare, often at the most vulnerable point of their lives. Person-centred approaches to care are holistic and respectful with a focus on the individual as a whole person. As nurses care for people of all ages and settings, they can make a significant contribution to reducing inequalities in health status and increasing healthcare access. Effective healthcare must be based on best evidence and nurses have an important role in clinical research and in implementing evidence in practice.

The second area that will be addressed is how nurses work in partnership with people. Many nurses work in partnership with people who have long-term conditions and who are self-managing their health, often with family support, in the community. The notion of partnership implies an equal relationship, underpinned by mutual respect, and leading to shared decision making, greater empowerment and more effective self-management.

The third area to be covered will be the role of nurses in helping people adapt to changed health status. Worldwide there are increasing numbers of people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or life changing injury that changes their health status on a permanent basis. These talks will explore the contributions that nurses can offer to individuals, their families and carers and to society in general in developing both physical and psychological strategies that ensure people with an altered health status can reach their full potential.

The final area will examine nursing in the context of acute care and patient safety.
The nurse’s role in supporting patients and maintaining their safety during acute care is pivotal. The talks in this section discuss the unique nursing contribution to critically ill people and the nurse’s role and responsibilities in relation to patient deterioration. Nurses also have a key role in preventing harm and particularly the two most prevalent causes of avoidable harm: pressure damage and falls. Healthcare-associated infection remains a significant concern and controlling and preventing infection lies closely within the domain of nursing practice.