History of Chinese Nursing

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History of Nursing in China
SUNY Delhi
NURS-300: Professional Issues of nursing
June 11, 2011


The history of nursing in China did not start until the 19th century. Modern nursing was introduced into China as part of the westernization in to Chinese culture. In this paper I will discuss the Chinese philosophy on religion and various treatments. I will discuss the Leninger transcultural model and how it relates to Chinese culture. The Chinese culture continues to influence American culture and I will discuss how it will continue to do so in the future. Nursing History in China Chinese health treatment was traditionally provided by medical personnel and the profession of nursing did not really exist. Modern nursing evolved following the arrival of Western missionaries in the late 19th century. Throughout the 20th century, nursing development was significantly influenced by the political climate, particularly during the Cultural Revolution (Smith &Tang, 2004, p.21). An important aspect of nursing practice is based on the Chinese cultural understanding of health. For Chinese people, illness occurs when there is imbalance between the patient and their environment. As such, a large component of traditional Chinese medicine focuses on restoring this overall balance, rather than simply treating the symptoms. According to traditional Chinese medicine the two opposing principles in the universe are yin and yang. Yin is the female principle it: it represents cold, darkness, and other qualities. Yang is the male principle: it represents heat, light, and so forth. When yin and yang are in balance, the individual is healthy (Galanti, 2008). When there is disruption of balance, illness results. The goal of the treatment is to restore balance, which can be achieved through acupuncture, herbs, hot and cold treatment. I once had a Chinese patient that only spoke mandarin before his family left they told me he was in a lot of pain when I went to medicate him he took the medicine cup and the water and just looked at the pill and would not take the medication that I got from the narcotic box. I had to waste the pill because it was the end of my shift. The next day when I returned to work I was asked by a nurse why I wasted the medication. I explained the story to her and then she told me that she spoke with the patient via a cyracom phone he stated he did not take the medication from me is because I gave him cold water. It was then I realized how important transcultural nursing is.

Modern Chinese nursing evolved due to the influence of Western missionaries who began arriving after China lost the Opium War in 1842 (Smith &Tang, 2004 p.17).Shortly before this time however, in 1835, the first Western influenced hospital was established in Canton. The first American nurse, Elizabeth McKechnie, arrived in 1884 and began to introduce the Florence Nightingale system of nursing. In 1888 the first school for Chinese nurses was opened in Fuchou by another American, Ella Johnson (Smith & Tang, 2004 p. 18). She was later supplemented by Nina Gage, who arrived in 1908 and then established a nurse training program in 1910 as part of the Yale mission (Smith & 2004 p.18). Nina Gage later served as president of the Chinese Nursing Association between 1912 and 1914. By 1915, China established an examination system for the professional certification of nurses, followed by Asia's first 5-year bachelor of nursing degree at the Peking Union Medical College in 1920 (Smith & Tang, 2004 p.18). This facility became the first of many nursing schools to flourish between the 1920s and 1930s, with 183 registered facilities by 1937 (Smith & Tang, 2004 p.18). In 1930 the first government-funded nursing school was established, and this number gradually increased. By 1936, there were at least 6000 nurses officially registered with the Nursing Association of China (Smith &Tang, 2004...
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