Florence Wald - Nurse Leader

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Florence Wald, RN, MN, MS, FAAN, Dean Emerita of Yale University School of Nursing and visionary leader of the American Hospice Movement. She was born Florence Sophie Schorske In New York city on April 19, 1917 to Theodore Alexander Schorske and Gertrude Goldschmidt Schorske. She was the younger of two children and having pneumonia as a child, credits the superb comfort and care from her mother and a homeopathic physician as her reason for choosing to enter the nursing profession. Her parents were both highly educated, both had lucrative employment (father-banker, mother-shipping management), and were dynamic social and political activists. Her family easily survived the challenges of The Great Depression and was able to provide a good life and education to both their children. With this early good parental influence, a fine educational and working career, and good old fashioned open-mindedness and hard work, this little girl went on to ignite the modern hospice movement in the United States of America. Before the modern hospice movement, ways of caring for the dying and terminally ill existed and evolved through the centuries. Some pre-Medieval cultures provided group support for the dying while some responded with isolation. Treatment, if provided at all was left to the “wise” or “medicine” man – a man or woman with mystical or spiritual powers. During Medieval times through the 17th century, hospice (meaning to host a guest or stranger) care was generally provided by caring family or Church(Christianity) members without the benefit of any effective medical standards or techniques. As early medicine evolved, the terminally ill were treated in crude hospitals where germ theory was still unknown and where infection and death were oftentimes proliferated rather than quelled. As a result hospitals gained the reputation as “houses of death” and...
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