views updated May 11 2018

nurse / nərs/ • n. a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, esp. in a hospital. ∎ dated a person employed or trained to take charge of young children: her mother's old nurse. ∎ archaic a wet nurse. ∎  [often as adj.] Forestry a tree or crop planted as a shelter to others. ∎  Entomol. a worker bee, ant, or other social insect, caring for a young brood.• v. [tr.] 1. give medical and other attention to (a sick person): she nursed the girl through a dangerous illness. ∎  [intr.] care for the sick and infirm, esp. as a profession: she nursed at the hospital for thirty years. ∎  try to cure or alleviate (an injury, injured part, or illness) by treating it carefully and protectively: he has been nursing a cold | fig. he nursed his hurt pride. ∎  hold closely and carefully or caressingly: he nursed his small case on his lap. ∎  hold (a cup or glass) in one's hands, drinking from it occasionally: I nursed a double brandy. ∎  harbor (a belief or feeling), esp. for a long time: I still nurse anger and resentment. ∎  take special care of, esp. to promote development or well-being: our political unity needs to be protected and nursed. ∎  Billiards try to play strokes that keep (the balls) close together.2. feed (a baby) at the breast: lionesses who were nursing their own cubs | [as adj.] (nursing) nursing mothers. ∎  [intr.] be fed at the breast: the baby snuffled as he nursed. ∎  (be nursed in) dated be brought up in (a specified condition): he was nursed in the lap of plenty.ORIGIN: late Middle English: contraction of earlier nourice, from Old French, from late Latin nutricia, feminine of Latin nutricius ‘(person) that nourishes,’ from nutrix, nutric- ‘nurse,’ from nutrire ‘nourish.’ The verb was originally a contraction of nourish, altered under the influence of the noun.


views updated May 18 2018


Nurses are health care professionals with direct responsibility for patient care. Nurses work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, schools, corporations, and many other settings. In hospitals, nurses provide care under a treatment plan prescribed by doctors, but often have considerable responsibility for managing the details of the patient's daily care. In other settings, nurses may be the first health care professional seen by a patient, and may be responsible for recommending treatment in conjunction with the doctor. Nurses combine medical expertise with strong interpersonal skills and a desire to help people.


English nurse, founder of the profession of nursing and one of the first scientists to use statistical analysis. Nightingale used sophisticated data analysis, presented in diagrams, to persuade English authorities to make reforms necessary to save the lives of wounded soldiers in military hospitals in Turkey.

To become a nurse, high school courses in math and science are required. Nurse training programs are offered at hospitals, junior colleges, community colleges, and four-year colleges. The degree of training offered by each differs, as does the advancement possible as a result. Following graduation from the training program, the student must pass a state licensure exam to become a registered nurse (RN), and is then able to work as a nurse. Further education allows the RN to obtain a master's degree in nursing. This is required to become a nurse practitioner (a nurse who performs many of the same functions as a family-practice doctor), a nurse-midwife (provides care to maternity patients), or several other nursing specialties.

see also Doctor, Family Practice; Medical Assistant; Nurse Practitioner

Richard Robinson


National Student Nurses' Association. <>.


views updated May 14 2018

nurse (ners) n. a person who has completed a programme of basic nursing education and is qualified and authorized in his or her country to practise nursing. In Britain, student nurses gain a diploma or degree in nursing and must undertake a specified period of training in a hospital approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to qualify as a registered n. (adult health, child health, mental health, or learning disabilities). See district nurse, health visitor, midwife, nurse practitioner, occupational health nurse, practice nurse, school nurse.


views updated May 23 2018


Nurses in public health settings work with community leaders, health and social-service agencies, high-risk groups, families, and individuals to identify and resolve unmet environmental, social, and health needs. Their role is to provide education about lifestyle and behavior choices that can help prevent illness and foster good health. public health nurses work in clinics, homes, schools, and other community locations. The Future of Public Health, published by the Institute of Medicine in 1988, initiated debate among public health nurse leaders and started a trend away from care of individuals in clinics toward an increased involvement with community groups such as healthy connections networks. This trend is expected to continue in the twenty-first century.

Judith Cazzoli

(see also: Behavior, Health-Related; Behavioral Change; Future of Public Health; Public Health Nursing )


Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association (1990). The Definition and Role of Public Health Nursing in the Delivery of Health Care. Washington, DC: APHA.


views updated May 09 2018

nurse sb. XVI. reduced form of †norice, †n(o)urice (XIII–XVIII) — OF. nourice (mod. -rr-):- late L. nutrīcia, sb. use of fem. of L. nūtrīcius, f. nūtrīre NOURISH.
So nurse vb. XVI; alt. of †nurish, †norsh NOURISH, by assim. to the sb. nursery †upbringing of children; apartment for nurse and children XIV; ground, etc. for young plants XVI. prob. — AN. *noricerie.


views updated Jun 11 2018

Nurse ★★½ 1980

A recently widowed woman resumes her career as a nurse in a large urban hospital, after her son leaves for college. Based on Peggy Anderson's book. Pilot for a TV series. 105m/C VHS . Michael Learned, Robert Reed, Antonio Fargas; D: David Lowell Rich. TV