The definition of nursing excellence can be defined in many ways. What is common amongst all of the definitions of nursing excellence is that providing the patient with high quality compassionate care seems to be the common thread. Florence Nightingale (considered by many to be the first nursing theorist) initiated the elevation of the nursing profession by educating those in charge of caring for patients and teaching them to use the environment to assist in patient recovery. From that point on, the definition of nursing excellence has been constantly evolving.
Virginia Henderson, much like Nightingale, a pioneer in the nursing profession, went on to include caring for the healthy individual as an degree of nursing excellence. There are 7 qualities that have been identified as being the qualities required to excel in nursing. Those qualities are: Compassion, Ownership, Partnership, Dignity, Integrity, Knowledge, and Communication (Tomes. C, n. d. ). Nurses who exemplify all of these qualities have proven to be leaders in their area of practice, displaying qualities that other nurses can look up to and seek professional counsel from.
Nursing excellence results in competent, cost effective high quality care. The push for excellence in the nursing profession is exemplified in The National League for Nursing model for education. This model of education prepares nurses to achieve excellence by teaching nurses to “fulfill various roles- providing high quality care to individuals, families, and communities; teaching effectively; influencing public policy; and conducting research” (The National League for Nursing, 2006).

This model represents the fact that the NLN believes that excellence in nursing starts before one graduate from nursing school, and before your very first patient encounter. I agree with the NLN’s approach to stress excellence in the educational arena of nursing. There has been an increased interest in nursing as a second career, possibly after a lay-off of closing of a person’s job. The enrollment in BSN programs has increased by 3. 5 percent from 2008 to 2009 (AACN, 2009). The ability to pass nursing classes doesn’t mean that someone can become an excellent nurse; excellence must be taught and demonstrated.

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