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Nurses (pronunciation: /ˈnɜːrsɪz/) are healthcare professionals who are trained to care for individuals, families, and communities, ensuring they attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.


The term "nurse" originates from the Latin word "nutrire", which means to suckle or nourish. This is in reference to the role of wet-nurses in early human history.

Roles and Responsibilities

Nurses have a wide range of responsibilities, which include but are not limited to:

  • Patient Care: Nurses provide direct care to patients, including physical examinations, administering medications, and monitoring vital signs.
  • Patient Education: They educate patients and their families about their health conditions and the necessary steps for treatment and recovery.
  • Patient Advocacy: Nurses advocate for their patients' rights and needs, ensuring they receive the best possible care.
  • Health Promotion: They promote health and prevent illness through education and community outreach programs.
  • Research: Some nurses conduct research to improve healthcare practices and patient outcomes.

Types of Nurses

There are several types of nurses, each with their own specialized training and responsibilities. These include:

  • Registered Nurse (RN): RNs are licensed healthcare professionals who provide direct patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): LPNs, also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), provide basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors.
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN): APRNs, which include Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse-Midwives, have advanced training and are able to provide specialized healthcare services.
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP): NPs are APRNs who provide primary and specialty healthcare, including diagnosing and treating health conditions and prescribing medication.

Related Terms

  • Nursing: The profession or practice of providing care for the sick and infirm.
  • Nursing Care Plan: A written plan of actions to be undertaken in nursing care.
  • Nursing Diagnosis: A clinical judgment about individual, family, or community responses to actual or potential health problems or life processes.

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