History of Nursing

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Nursing has been called the oldest of arts and the youngest of professions (Donahue, 1996). In ancient periods because of maternal instinct women were considered born nurses. They cared for their own family and trained their daughters and other women in their community in the procedures in which they specialized. In the 16th century the meanings nursing included "a person, or a woman who waits upon or tends to the sick". During the 19th century, nursing was considered training of those who tend to the sick and carrying out duties under direction of a physician (Donahue, 1996). Today, nursing has become both an art and a science. It focuses on health promotion, professionalism, skills, knowledge and education. It is now a career of all genders and races and one of the highest growing professions in the United States. To understand how nursing has arrived we must first review where nursing has come from. In this paper you will learn about nursing before Florence Nightingale, the reforms that Florence made that changed nursing as a profession, and Innovations in nursing as it continue to evolve. Nursing has its origins in Christianity. According to Joyce (2002), some of the earliest nurses and individuals who ran hospitals were Catholic nuns and monks. Deacons and deaconesses of the church were trained as nurses and went out into the community to provide nursing care. In the 1840s, nursing- sisterhoods were founded to improve standards of nursing in Britain (Joyce, 2002). This organization was of the Catholic nursing order. According to Joyce (2002), St. John's House was an Anglican Nursing Sisterhood founded in 1848, it provided nurses to care for the sick in their own homes. This is considered one of the first training schools. They trained nurses for private work but they gained experience in hospital wards (Joyce, 2002). In the 17th and 18th century, the infirmaries were local houses used for providing employment for the destitute. During...
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