5 lessons from nursing greats of the past
5. Provide care for the whole person, not just the disease or illness. (Virginia Avenel Henderson)
Credited with the development of nursing theory that promoted a profoundly humanitarian perspective, Virginia Avenel Henderson started out as a public health nurse and then became a full-time nursing instructor in Virginia.
Her oft-quoted axiom was “The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible.”
Rather than concentrating on nursing techniques or procedures, she focused on the fundamental role of the nurse in relationship to patients and felt that psychiatric nursing was a critical component of nursing training. She was one of the earliest proponents of the idea that nursing should care for all aspects of the individual—a concept that permeates modern healthcare.
Cynthia Dusseault is a professional freelance writer with both a health and an education background. A former medical radiation technologist and elementary school teacher, she realized that no matter what she did, she was drawn to any task that involved writing, so she decided, over a decade ago, to write full-time. Since then, she has written for a variety of magazines and websites including Nursing PRN, National Review of Medicine, University Affairs, Your Health, Education Leaders Today, Today's Parent, Children's Playmate, WeightWatchers.ca and many more.She has written about topics such as asthma, genital herpes, circumcision, teleradiology, body art, learning disabilities and exercise trends, and she absolutely adores the fact that writing—particularly doing the research for the articles she writes—makes her a lifelong learner.
By Cynthia Dusseault