Wikipedia has become one of the most utilised reference resources in the world with 22 million articles, 4 million of them in English.
All the articles are written and updated by volunteers, and anyone can edit them…leading to a blunderbuss scatter of misinformation, untruths and plain old craziness splattered across the facts.
As evidence based compendiums of human knowledge go, Wikipedia is the Wild West.
Despite this, a 2006 study conducted by Nature comparing 42 topics at Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica found both sources to have 4 serious errors, with Britannica having 123 minor errors versus Wikipedias 162.
That is not too shabby.
Another 2008 study compared the drug information on Wikipedia with that on Medscape and found:
Wikipedia’s answers were less complete, contained more errors of omission, and provided no correct dosing information.
(In fairness, Wikipedia made fewer factual errors.)
:: Cecil Adams- The Straight Dope::
So the bottom line is Wikipedia should be thought of as an inclusive, interesting and highly accessible reference with varying degrees of reliability and waffle.
Er…which is pretty much how you should swallow this site.
AND it is one of the most comprehensive examples of the adage: do not believe everything you read1.
What does Wikipedia have to say about nursing?
Well it makes some pretty interesting reading actually. Comprehensively covering the history of our profession, and the state of nursing across several cultures.
Go check it out.
Here are a few excised snippets of interest:
- New Zealand was the first country to regulate nurses nationally, with adoption of the Nurses Registration Act on the 12 September 1901.
It was here in New Zealand that Ellen Dougherty became the first registered nurse.
- Nurses have experienced difficulty with the hierarchy in medicine that has resulted in an impression that nurses’ primary purpose is to follow the direction of physicians.This tendency is certainly not observed in Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing, where the physicians are mentioned relatively infrequently, and often in critical tones—particularly relating to bedside manner.
- Nurses in the United States Army actually started during the Revolutionary War when a general suggested to George Washington that the he needed female nurses “to attend the sick and obey the matron’s orders.
- even as late as the 1870s, “women working in North American urban hospitals typically were untrained, working class, and accorded lowly status by both the medical profession they supported and society at large”
- The aim of the nursing community worldwide is for its professionals to ensure quality care for all, while maintaining their credentials, code of ethics, standards, and competencies, and continuing their education.
- the male-to-female ratio of nurses is approximately 1:19 in Canada and America.
This ratio is represented around the world.
Notable exceptions include Francophone Africa, which includes the countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Togo, which all have more male than female nurses.
- De Lucia, Otto, & Palmier (2009) concluded, “the profession of nursing as a whole is overloaded because there is a nursing shortage. Individual nurses are overloaded. They are overloaded by the number of patients they oversee. They are overloaded by the number of tasks they perform. They work under cognitive overload, engaging in multitasking and encountering frequent interruptions. They work under perceptual overload due to medical devices that do not meet perceptual requirements, insufficient lighting, illegible handwriting, and poor labeling designs. They work under physical overload due to long work hours and patient handling demands which leads to a high incidence of MSDs. In short, the nursing work system often exceeds the limits and capabilities of human performance. HF/E research should be conducted to determine how these overloads can be reduced and how the limits and capabilities of performance can be accommodated. Ironically, the literature shows that there are studies to determine whether nurses can effectively perform tasks ordinarily performed by physicians. Results indicate that nurses can perform such tasks effectively. Nevertheless, already overloaded nurses should not be given more tasks to perform.
- Top 10 Highest Paying [US] Nursing Specialties
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $135,000
Nurse Researcher – $95,000
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – $95,000
Certified Nurse Midwife – $84,000
Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse – $81,000
Orthopedic Nurse – $81,000
Nurse Practitioner – $78,000
Clinical Nurse Specialist – $76,000
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner – $75,000
Neonatal Nurse – $74,000
- on second thought, that might go for the entire internet [↩]