The nurse and nursing care.
The profession of nurse is defined by the Job description (Italian Ministerial Decree no. 739 of 14 September 1994), as a professional who is responsible for nursing care and, as such, prevents disease, cares for patients of all ages and provides health education for individuals, families and the community.
The characteristics of nursing care have a technical nature, for example the management of invasive or non-invasive ventilation of patients with respiratory
insufficiency; an interpersonal nature, such as helping a patient to accept a chronic condition like diabetes or post-traumatic disabilities; and, lastly, an
educational nature, when the nurse is involved in an educational initiative to help patients look after themselves following discharge, for example, patients who have had a coronary artery bypass.
In order to perform these duties, nurses employ clinical reasoning that allows them, firstly, to identify the person’s care needs, including by using
internationally-validated measurement tools, secondly, to plan and manage nursing intervention in order to satisfy these needs, based on the highest-quality published evidence and, lastly, to assess the results achieved.
In their work, nurses are guided by the Italian Nurses’ Code of Conduct (17 January 2009) for the development of their professional identity and the
assumption of ethically-responsible behaviour, the breach of which is disciplined by the Professional Board.
The Code provides guidelines regarding the ethical principles of the profession, relationships with patients, professional relationships with colleagues and other professionals and relationships with the institutions. “Nursing care focuses not on the illness but on the person,” said Beatrice Walter in the early 20th century, whereas medicine takes care of a person’s ills, “wenurses care for the person”.
Bachelor’s degree in Nursing graduates are qualified to work in Italy, once they have registered with the Provincial Board of Nurses and the appropriate Professional Association.