Nursing Theory and Purpose

Contact Information

(608) 263-6500 (phone)

(608) 263-5778 (fax)


UW Health Recruitment Center, 301 S. Westfield Road, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53717

Nurses at UW Hospital and Clinics deliver patient- and family-centered care through professional nursing practice that is compassionate, respectful, accountable and nonjudgmental.


Nursing Theory


Nurses and nursing leadership at UW Hospital and Clinics are the foremost champions of the UW Hospital and Clinics mission to be healers and teachers. By their decisions, by their actions, by their words and by their deeds, nurses at UWHC live the promise of creating an environment that has at its core the well-being of patients and families. At its professional center resides a spirit of inquiry that results in bringing the latest research into evidence-based nursing practice at UW Hospital and Clinics and contributing to the universal body of knowledge elsewhere.


Nursing Purpose


Nursing practice at UW Hospital and Clinics is guided by the seminal work of Virginia Henderson, considered by many to be the “foremost nurse of the 20th century,” according to the American Nurses Association (ANA), which inducted Henderson into its Hall of Fame in 1996. Henderson was a visionary who identified the nurses’ contribution to patient care and patients’ wishes to maintain independence.


"The unique function of the nurse is to assist people, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or a peaceful death), that they would perform unaided if they had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help them gain independence as rapidly as possible." (Henderson and Nite, 1978).