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Definition of Nursing

"Nursing integrates the art and science of caring and focuses on the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and human functioning; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing; and alleviation of suffering through compassionate presence. Nursing is the diagnosis and treatment of human responses and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in recognition of the connection of all humanity."

Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 4th Edition

History of Nursing

Penn Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania provides a well collated history of the nursing profession.

Please view the general history of the nursing profession here: American Nursing: An Introduction to the Past.

What Makes a Nurse?

There are many external and internal influences on the profession of nursing. Our profession is both an art and science of delivering high-quality, compassionate, ethical, equitable, safe care to individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.


  • Robust, scholarly evidence is critical to the science of nursing.


  • The collective autonomous independent professional actions of the nurse in any role or setting.


  • Code of Ethics for Nurses
  • Nursing Professional Scope and Standards
  • Specialty Certification
  • Practice Setting including Organizational Policy and Procedures
  • Nurse Practice Acts (law), Rules and Regulations
  • Population Focus
  • Consensus Model


  • The state of being "safe," protection from harm or other undesirable outcomes.


  • The degree to which nursing services for healthcare consumers, families, groups, communities, and populations increase the likelihood of desirable outcomes and are consistent with evolving nursing knowledge.

*Adopted from Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 4th Edition, American Nurses Association 2021

Nurses: Their Vital Role in Transforming Healthcare,
narrated by Joan Lunden, is a half-hour documentary exploring the impact of nurses on our nation’s health care system, in our community, on patients and their families, and of course, on the nurses themselves.

Website Sponsor

Thank you, ChristianaCare, for your support of DNA and Delaware Nursing. Click here to learn more about nursing at ChristianaCare.

Delaware Nurses Association 

DNA is a constituent member of  
4765 Ogletown Stanton Road, Suite L10 | Newark, DE 19713

Phone: (302) 733-5880 Organizational Affiliates

   Delaware Emergency Nurses Association

   - Delaware State Affiliate - American College of Nurse-Midwives

   - Delaware Coalition of Nurse Practitioners

   - Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists

   - Black Nurses Rock Delaware Chapter, Inc.


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