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Nursing is a health care profession. Nurses provide for many of the routine aspects of patient care, such as supervision of patients in hospital beds, taking blood, putting in intravenous lines and assisting with surgery. However, nurses are increasingly becoming more responsible for patient care, including aspects of prescribing drugs and administering anesthesia. Although nurses started out merely as physicians assistants and helpers to those confined to bed rest, even as early as the 19th century they were making major breakthroughs in epidemiology, triage and anesthesia.