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How greek nurses and nursing students define nursing: a qualitative content analysis

Dimitriadou A

Background: The definition of the term “nursing” is not just another word in the dictionary, or just one more paragraph of a nursing text book or of a nursing theory. It is a vital parameter of the social and professional expression of the nursing profession. The way in which nursing care is offered is a reflection of the nurses’ perception of the definition of nursing, which also affects the nurses’ professional identity.Sample and method: Our sample consisted of nurses (n=291) working in hospitals in eight major cities situated in northern Greece, as well as of students (n=172) of the Nursing Departments of two Technological Educational Institutes (T.E.I.). Participants were asked by an open�?¢�?�?��?ended question to give their own definition of nursing, which reflects their personal understanding of the term. 603 statements; 385 from nurses and 218 from nursing students returned back . However 94 of the nurses’ statements and 46 of the nursing students’ statements were excluded from the analysis because they were not actually answering the question asked and 463 statements were finally analyzed (291 from nurses and 172 from nursing students) by using content analysis.Results: The content analysis resulted into six categories: (1) nursing is perceived as an occupation or service or a combination of them, (2) as science or art or as a combination of science and art, (3) nursing is viewed as an offering of care to the sick to the patient and to the fellow man, (4) nursing is also understood as physical and psychological support to patients. (5) Recipients of nursing are patients and their families and (6) nursing in relation to prevention and health promotion is also offered to healthy people.Conclusions: The deriving definition of nursing is as following: Nursing is a science and art as well as an occupation and a service. Is also an offering of care including the provision of physical and psychological support to patients and their relatives. Nursing is also provided to healthy people through activities of prevention and health promotion.