Florence Nightingale defined nursing over 100 years ago as "the act of utilizing the environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery( Nightingale,1860). NIghtingale considered a clean,well-ventilated, and quiet environment essential for recovery. Often considered the first nurse theorist. Nightingale raised the status of nusring through education. Nurses were no longer untrained housekeepers but people educated in the care of the sick.

Virgnia Henderson was one of the first modern nursed to define nursing. She wrote. "The unique function of the nurse is to assist he individual,sick or well, in the performance of those activites contributing to health or its recovery(or to peaceful death)the he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strenght,will,or knolwdege,and to do this in such a way as to strength,will or knowledge, and to do this is such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible"(Henderson,1966,p.3). Like Nightingale,Henderson described nursing in relation to the client and the client's environment. Unlike Nightingale, Henderson saw the nurse as concerned with both healthy and ill individuals, acknowledged that nures interact with clients even when recovery may not be feasible, and mentioned the teaching and advocacy roles of the nurse.

In 1987,the Canadian Nurses Association(CNA) described nursing practice as a dynamic,caring,helping realtionship in which the nurse assists the client to achieve and obtain optimal health(CNA,1987). In thew latter half of the 20th century, a number of nurse theorists developed their own ehoritical definitions of nursing. Theoretical definitions are important because they go beyond simplistic common definitions. They describe what nursing is and the interrelationship among nurses, nursing, the client, the environment, and the intended client outcome.

Certain themes are common to many of these defintions:

Nursing is caring *
Nursing is an art *
Nursing is science *
Nursing is client centered Nursing is hilostic *
Nursing is adaptive *
Nursingis concerned with helath promotion, health meaitenance, and health restoration *
NUrsing is s helping profession *