Here is what I think nurses do. Using their considerable knowledge, they protect patients from the risks and consequences of illness, disability, and infirmity, as well as from the risks and consequences of the treatment of illness. They also protect patients from the risks that occur when illness and vulnerability make it difficult, impossible, or even lethal for patients to perform the activities of daily living — ordinary acts like breathing, turning, going to the toilet, coughing, or swallowing.
Even the most emotional work nurses do is a form of rescue. When nurses construct a relationship with patients or their families, they are rescuing patients from social isolation, terror, or the stigma of illness or helping family members cope with their loved ones’ illnesses.
What do nurses do? They save lives, prevent complications, prevent suffering, and save money.
Suzanne Gordon. Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2006;6(1)
What do nurses do?