Nursing is a process of clinical judgement by a trained person in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability, until death.
Nursing as a service has been practiced since time immemorial in different forms. Before the onset of modern nursing, nuns and military provided nursing-like services. In Romans: 16:1, St. Paul sends Deaconess Phoebe, the first known nurse, to Rome as its first visiting nurse: (I commend you to our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.…)
However, the foundations of modern nursing were laid down by a celebrated British reformer and statistician, Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910). Known as “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night, she came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) where she tended to wounded soldiers. In 1960, she established the first school of nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London which has since become part of King’s College London. Millions of nurses across the globe celebrate her birthday (12 May 1820) as International Nurses Week and the Nightingale Pledge taken by all new nurses in named in her honour.
Until 1950, nursing education and practice was done without any formal structure. At the time, health care facilities regularly conducted on job training to workers to help trained personnel who had come from the United Kingdom. During the Nurses and Midwives Council of Kenya meeting in February 1950, a resolution was passed which defined the different cadres of nurses, namely State Registered Nurse, Kenya Registered Nurse, and Assistant Registered Nurse Grade 1 and 2. The first examination for nurses in Kenya was done in 1952, with King George Hospital (Kenyatta National Hospital) as the only training institution for Registered Nurses.

Definition of Nurse
This is a person who has successfully undergone a prescribed nurse education training program, qualified, authorized and has license to practice nursing.

Role of Nurses in healthcare:
Nurses are responsible for protecting their patients and promoting general health. They help prevent the spread of illness and work to alleviate patient suffering while undergoing treatment. They diagnose patients and help prevent injuries.

Nursing Education and Practice in Kenya:
Nursing education and practice is strictly regulated by an act of parliament (Nurses Cap 257 of the Laws of Kenya) with the Nursing Council of Kenya as the sole regulatory body. To practice as a nurse in Kenya, one must successfully undergo a prescribed training, and be registered and licensed by this body.

Role of the Nursing Council of Kenya
• Establishes and maintains standards of nursing profession and safeguards the interests of nurses and health care within the community
• Makes provision for the training and instruction of persons seeking registration under the Nurses Act
• Regulates syllabi and curricula
• Prescribes and conducts examinations
• Has regard to the conduct of persons under the Act and takes disciplinary measures
• Has regard to the standards of nursing care, qualified staff, facilities conditions and environment
• Compiles and keeps records and registers
• Approves uniforms and other insignia
• Advises the minister on matters concerning all aspects of nursing

Basic cadres
• Kenya Enrolled Nurse [Phased Out]
• Kenya Enrolled Midwifery [Phased Out]
• Kenya Enrolled Community Health Nurse [Basic]
• Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse [Basic]
• Kenya Registered Nurse
• Kenya Registered Nurse Midwife
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Post basic cadres
• Kenya Enrolled Community Health Nurse [Post Basic]
• Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse [Post Basic]
• Kenya Registered Anaesthetic Nurse
• Kenya Registered Critical Care Nurse
• Kenya Registered Mental Health Nurse
• Kenya Registered Midwife
• Kenya Registered Nephrology Nurse
• Kenya Registered Ophthalmic Nurse
• Kenya Registered Paediatric Nurse
• Kenya Registered Peri-Operative Nurse