Nursing education consists of a vast spectrum of theoretical and practical training that prepares nurses for the various duties of professional medical positions. Experienced nurses and medical educators, who are either qualified by a system of technical merits or through professional medical experience, offer nursing education courses in both general nursing and in specialized areas of nursing education, such as pediatrics nursing education, post-operative nursing education, and even mental health nursing education. A typical course is exigent of four years of accredited nursing education and training, while post-qualification courses generally concentrate on specialized areas of nursing education.
Over recent decades, nursing education has shifted from a focus on practical experience, which is related to a coarse trial-and-error system of learning, to a more practically focused, structured program of conventional medical training and preparation. A supportive argument exists for the more practical skill base learned in the intense medical environment training of the past; however, the older nursing education system emphasized a â€œhandmaidenâ€ relationship between doctors and nurses, while the modern nursing education system tends to develop more competent and confident graduates whom are capable of delivering higher quality care from the very beginning of their tenure as nurses. Modern nurses are considered to be equals among their medical care teams, rather than apprentices or subservience to other medical professionals.
Not all nursing education courses terminate in a graduate-level status. In certain countries, nursing has been seen, traditionally, as an apprenticeship trade and was a common undertaking for religious orders, such as convents. Women dominated the field of nursing through most of its history; however, there have always been professional nursing roles for men as well, especially in mental health services. Modern nursing education serves a greater number of males than at any time in the past.
Historically, the earliest structured nursing education curriculum was developed by Florence Nightingale, who set up the first nursing educational institution in the year 1860. Nightingale also authored a book on nursing education entitled, â€œNotes on Nursingâ€ in 1898. Florence Nightingale, Ethel Bedford-Fenwick, and other early nurse educators advocated a system of nursing education that should take place in institutions of higher learning rather than in hospitals, a forward-thinking idea which has become the standard in nursing education in the United States today.