Nursing as a Discipline: Charting the Evolution and Significance in Healthcare

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Updated: Sep 14, 2023
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Over the past century, nursing, which was once thought of as a profession, has undergone substantial change. From being viewed as only playing a supporting function in healthcare, it has evolved into a distinct field with its own body of knowledge, body of research, body of theories, and body of practice recommendations. To fully grasp the breadth of knowledge, proficiency, and professional aptitude that any nurse offers to the healthcare system, nursing should be viewed as a discipline.

This discipline was formerly seen to be a natural career choice for women, one that was based on compassion, caring, and helping others. It wasn’t until people like Florence Nightingale began to change perceptions in the 19th century that nursing started to be seen as a profession needing specific training and education. As a result of Nightingale’s efforts during the Crimean War, dramatic changes in hospital cleanliness and the subsequent founding of the first school of nurses with a scientific foundation signaled the advent of modern nursing.

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In the 20th century, this career underwent a significant transformation. A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing is now more commonplace than it formerly was in the hospital-based diploma programs that were once the norm. Gerontology, cancer, critical care, public health, nurse anesthesia, and other fields are just a few of the specializations available to nurses today. Every specialty has its concepts, guidelines, and procedures, which all demonstrate how nursing as a field of study has progressed.


Ideologies Of Nursing As A Discipline

Every Profession has certain ideologies or principles that serve as fundamental elements which can be noted by people most especially for those who want to join such a discipline. The ideologies behind the concept of this professional include the following:

  • Evidence-based practice based on research

A discipline’s dedication to advancing its body of knowledge via thorough study is one of its defining characteristics. Nursing research has accumulated significant knowledge on patient care, nursing treatments, and health outcomes. The research journals stand as a monument to the field’s dedication to evidence-based practice. This health personnel makes sure that patients get up-to-date, efficient treatment by incorporating research results into daily practice.

  • Frameworks and Theories

Nursing as a field is being further established by the growth of medical theories. Frameworks for comprehending how nursing practice fits within the healthcare system are provided by medical theories. These theoretical conceptions range from Virginia Henderson’s definition of this profession to Jean Watson’s philosophy of human care, direct practice, research, and instruction within the field. By outlining its beliefs, goals, and methods for providing patient care, it sets the job apart from other health professions and provides the career with a distinctive point of view.

  • Holistic method of treatment

The job stands out as a discipline due to its all-encompassing approach to patient care. The job covers a wider range than medicine, which traditionally concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It addresses not just physiological needs but also psychological, social, spiritual, and environmental variables that influence health. By taking a comprehensive approach to the complex issues surrounding human health and well-being, a nurse may deliver patient-centered care that is also culturally competent.

  • Cross-disciplinary Cooperation

The field of nursing is also highlighted by its capacity for productive cross-disciplinary collaboration. Any nurse frequently serves as patients’ first point of contact, coordinating treatment amongst a variety of medical specialists, including physicians, pharmacists, social workers, and therapists. This position calls for competence in acting as an advocate and educator for patients and their families, as well as knowledge of the larger healthcare sector.

  • Normative Framework 

A solid ethical foundation is essential to the nursing field. The principles of respect, autonomy, beneficence, and justice are upheld by nurses practicing according to the career code of ethics. The dedication of the nurse to patient advocacy, safeguarding patient confidentiality, and upholding each patient’s dignity is evidence of the discipline’s strong ethical foundation.

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Benefits Of Nursing As A Profession

There are few benefits of becoming a nurse as a profession. They include:

  • Diverse specialties. The job has a variety of specialties to choose from, allowing them to focus on things that interest and suit them best.
  • Rewarding Work. By offering care, solace, and support to patients through times of illness and recovery, nurses have a significant positive influence on their lives.
  • Variety in job Environments. Many nurses have a wide range of job settings to select from, including hospitals, clinics, schools, home care, research, and more.
  • Flexible schedules. The job frequently offers part-time, full-time, or shift work opportunities that can meet different lifestyles.
  • Career Development. By obtaining greater education, certifications, and managerial positions, any health personnel can develop in their professions.
  • Global Opportunities. The high demand for any so-called nurse around the globe creates chances to travel and work abroad.
  • Lifelong Learning. Because the healthcare industry is always changing, a nurse should continue to grow and change throughout their employment.
  • Valued career. The field is important to the healthcare system and is a valued and crucial career.
  • Emotional satisfaction. For any qualified nurse, having a good influence on patients’ lives and witnessing their recovery may be emotionally satisfying.
  • Teamwork. They collaborate closely with other medical professionals, promoting teamwork and camaraderie.


This field evolved from a profession to a recognized discipline because of dedication, creativity, and a relentless focus on patient care. The significant contributions that nursing has made to healthcare are acknowledged, and by establishing nursing as a discipline, we guarantee that any health personnel will always have the autonomy, expertise, and education required to deliver the best quality of care. To ensure that all patients have access to thorough, scientifically supported, and morally upstanding treatment as the healthcare environment changes, the profession will become even more crucial.

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Nursing as a Discipline: Charting the Evolution and Significance in Healthcare. (2023, Sep 14). Retrieved from