As nursing moves toward professional status in the United States, the problems of nursing practice and nursing education become not only more numerous but also more complex. In part nursing problems are rooted in the health needs of society and the rapid changes in the scientific foundation for health care, but they also are the result of the ways in which nursing education and practice have developed in our country. The focus of this paper is a description of roles for which nurses are prepared through particular forms of nursing education.
The traditional form of education for nursing in our country developed within the institutional setting of the hospital. This form of education for nursing (the hospital-controlled diploma program) has undergone considerable change and presently exists alongside other forms of preservice or initial nursing education. To understand problems that confront nurses today, both from the perspective of practice and of education, it is necessary to have and to be able to apply two very different concepts of nursing: (1) the concept of nursing as a health service to people, something that nurses do in their assisting or helping roles in society, and (2) the concept of nursing as an area of subject matter, a body of knowledge that can be continuously developed and extended through the efforts of nurse practitioners, scholars, and researchers. Nurses and nurse educators would do well to give attention to both concepts and to identify the implications
This paper was first presented at the Nursing Services Conference of the American Red Cross,
Eastern Area, in Alexandria, VA, June 2, 1966.