NR 393 From the Past to the Future

NR 393 From the Past to the Future

NR 393 From the Past to the Future

Education will continue to guide nurses into the next century.  In the beginning of what was considered nursing care, care was provided by family members or friends, with no formal education.  Care was mainly to offer comfort, and they sometimes used remedies that were passed around from different sources.  Then Florence Nightingale came along with discoveries of what we now call evidence-based practices to help with healing.  Nightingale brought the nursing profession to light, taught nursing, and opened a school to teach students wishing to become nurses.  School curriculums, length of schoolings, and licensure evolved through the years.

Nursing has learned how important education is, as nursing relies on education for every aspect of the profession.  As educational information changes, nursing must adapt to the new information to stay up to date in their nursing practice.  Caring is a vital part of nursing, however, nurses must have the knowledge for the why, what, when, how, and where, for interventions they apply.  Education enables nurses to provide the patient-centered care that each patient needs.  According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies, nurses must possess knowledge, attitudes, and skills.  (2016).  Nurses learn basic knowledge and skills to start their career and then continue with education at the workplace through peers, continuing education, and advancement in degrees.  Nurses should never discourage other nurses from advancing their knowledge and should be willing to share and offer education to their fellow nurses.  Nurses must stop eating their young.

Education will always be a part of nursing and that is why it is timeless.  “The primary goals of nursing education remain the same:  nurses must be prepared to meet diverse patients’ needs; function as leaders; and advance science that benefits patients and the capacity of health professionals to deliver safe, quality patient care” (Institute of Medicine, 2011).  Florence Nightingale met these objectives, and this education will take us into the next century.  Nurses can never have enough education.  Education makes us grow in our daily practices from what was learned in the past, to what we learn in the present, and to prepare nurses for changes in education to learn in the future.  Caring and education are the basis for serving our patients.


Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011. 4, Transforming Education. Available from: to an external site.

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.  Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies.  (2016).

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Nursing is life long learning so we can endorse that education to others including our patients. When we think about social media, technology, and the speed that information now travels. History will become more relevant as the time to practice may decrease with these advancements and the ability to communicate those changes promptly compared to the past. Not only do nurses now have to understand the information they must know how disseminate it to others.

I like that you mentioned that nurses need to stop eating their young. It is so hard to think about being a nursing

NR 393 From the Past to the Future
NR 393 From the Past to the Future

student, or a new grad, or being in a new area, and to not have this term heard somewhere in your training – and it is sadly, oh so true! One thing that has always helped me to remind others to be more kind to the “new guys”, is to remember we were ALL new at one point! We have all walked into nursing clinical for the first time and didn’t have a clue what to expect. Humans are meant to continually challenge the brain, to always be looking for new and better ways – and nursing is no different. However, no one can know everything! I like to remind my team that no one was born with a 100% proficiency rating in any job, and while some may be better than others, we are all in this together – taking it day by day, especially right now with Covid. Some may be better at certain procedures than you – that amazing! Use them, but don’t ever abuse or take advantage of someone.

As you mentioned, education is a truly critical part of what we do, who we are. If one generation of nurses is able to really take hold of this saying, and turn around the focus, I truly believe it could make a big difference. In healthcare, things are always changing, adapting, learning with us as we care for people every day. 50 years ago, people didn’t have 10 chronic conditions and acute illness, and hopefully, in 50 more, there can be a better focus on the importance of health and wellness. Education, always looking and learning, willing to change things up for the better. With the increased number of BSN students entering the workforce, I hope that we can express the importance of education, and how much of a difference it really does make!

Really enjoyed your post – thank you!

I completely agree that education will always be a huge part of nursing and I think calling it timeless is a perfect statement. We have come so far from where we were in the beginning of the nursing profession and we always talk about how much has changed even from when we became nurses. Even nursing schools are changing how they teach new nurses to reflect how our jobs are changing. For instance, I know my community college bought new manikins after I graduated to assist with skills that new nurses might be exposed to when they get into the field. We are using our drive for education to do many things including going back to school for more education as well as continuing to research evidence based practice. “For BSN and diploma programs, evidenced-based practice had greater emphasis in 2003 than in 1998, with this trend expected to continue” (Streubert, Jacobson, 2005). Education will always be a huge part of nursing because having educated nurses will allow us to better care for our patients and communities.


Streubert S., Jacobson, L. (2005). TRENDS in Registered Nurse Education Programs 1998-2008. Nursing Education Perspectives.

We use the lessons of the past to inform the future as we have learned from this course. Nightingale taught us to put eyes on the patient and use cleanliness to care for wounded persons. Mahoney kept fighting to treat patients of another color as she was discriminated against, simply because she wanted to help.


We are the future. We now have lessons to inform oncoming nurses on after this pandemic is through. I am almost positive that all of us could write a book on how much the hospitals have changed as a result of covid-19.


We will continue to learn from the past and make waves in the present and the future.