Thus far, nursing has been discussed as one of the functional entities of a hospital. It is necessarily understood that nursing, like medicine and other health disciplines, does not derive its reason for existence or its essential characteristics from the hospital. The substantial elements of nursing are always the same whether nursing be practiced in the patient's home, in a hospital, a clinic, or in the physician's office. The place where nursing is practiced modifies its application but does not change its substantial character. For this reason a brief analysis of the art of nursing is presented.
Nursing is an art through which the practitioner of nursing gives specialized assistance to persons with disabilities of such a character that more than ordinary assistance is necessary to meet daily needs for self-care and to intelligently participate in the medical care they are receiving from the physician. The art of nursing is practiced by doing for the person with the disability, by helping him to do for himself and/or by helping him to learn how to do for himself. Nursing is also practiced by helping a capable person from the patient's family or a friend of the patient to learn how to do for the patient. Nursing the patient is thus a practical and a didactic art.
Nursing as an art also includes the special assistance that the practitioner of nursing gives directly to the physician. The nurse prepares situations
This paper was originally presented as a report prepared for the Division of Hospital and Institu-
tional Services of the Indiana State Board of Health in October, 1956.