Professional nursing promotes and maintains health, prevents damage to health, and supports people in the treatment and handling of the effects of illnesses and their treatments. This is with the aim of achieving the best possible treatment and care results for the people we look after as well as the best possible quality of life in all phases of life until death.

Professional nursing…

  • … is aimed at people in all stages of life, individuals, families, groups and communities, the sick and their relatives, as well as disabled and healthy people;
  • … includes, on a continuum, tasks to maintain and promote health, prevention, birth preparation and assistance, acute conditions, during convalescence and rehabilitation, long-term care and palliative care;
  • … is based on a relationship between the people being cared for and their caregivers, which is characterised by caring attention, empathy, and compassion. The relationship allows the resources of those involved to unfold, openness to the proximity necessary for care and the setting of common goals;
  • … records the resources and care needs of the people being cared for, sets goals, plans and implements care interventions (using the necessary interpersonal and technical skills) and evaluates the results;
  • … based on evidence, reflected experience and preferences of the people being cared for, incorporates physical, mental, spiritual, phenomenological, sociocultural, age and gender aspects and takes ethical guidelines into account;
  • … includes clinical, pedagogical, scientific and managerial tasks, which are carried out in addition by nurses with basic training and those who have completed various further training courses, generalists and specialists; 
  •  …takes place in cooperation with the people being cared for, caregiving relatives and members of assistant professions in a multiprofessional team with doctors and members of other professions in the healthcare sector. In doing so, nurses take over management roles or work under the direction of others. However, they are always responsible for their own decisions, actions and conduct;
  • …is practised both in healthcare institutions and outside, wherever people live, learn and work.

Definition according to Spichiger et al. (2004) for the project “Future of Medicine in Switzerland” by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. This includes the elements of the definition by the International Council of Nurses ICN (2008)
Sources:ICN (2008) Nursing Care Continuum: Framework and Competencies, ICN Regulation Series - Spichiger, E., Kesselring, A., Spirig, R. De Geest, S. (2004) Professionelle Pflege neu definiert: Zwei Kernsätze und acht Ergänzungen. [Professional nursing care redefined: Two core statements and eight additions]. Krankenpflege 8/2004