History of Nursing Profession

Topics: Nursing, Medicine, Florence Nightingale Pages: 11 (3857 words) Published: March 3, 2012
History of nursing profession
Prior to the foundation of modern nursing, nuns and the military often provided nursing-like services. Florence Nightingale is the founder of modern nurses. she formed the base for the first professional nursing philosophy. She saw the role of nursing as 'having charge of somebody’s health' (Crisp&Taylor,2009) based on the knowledge of how to put the body in such a state to be free of disease or to recover from disease' (Crisp&Taylor,2009). The religious and military roots of modern nursing remain in evidence today in many countries, for example in the United Kingdom, senior female nurses are known as sisters. It was during time of war that a significant development in nursing history arose when English nurse Florence Nightingale, working to improve conditions of soldiers in the Crimean War, laid the foundation stone of professional nursing with the principles summarised in the book ‘Notes on Nursing’. Other important nurses in the development of the profession include: Mary Seacole, who also worked as a nurse in the Crimea; Agnes Elizabeth Jones and Linda Richards, who established quality nursing schools in the USA and Japan, and Linda Richards who was officially America's first professionally trained nurse, graduating in 1873 from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston.

New Zealand was the first country to regulate nurses nationally, with adoption of the Nurses Registration Act on the 12 September 1901. It was here in New Zealand that Ellen Dougherty became the first registered nurse. North Carolina was the first state in the United States to pass a nursing license law in 1903. In the 1990s nurses became able to prescribe medications, order diagnostic and pathology tests and refer patients to other health professionals as needed.

Nurses in the United States Army actually started during the Revolutionary War when a general suggested to George Washington that he needed female nurses "to attend the sick and obey the matron's orders. In July 1775, a plan was submitted to the Second Continental Congress that provided one nurse for every ten patients and provided that a matron be allotted to every hundred sick or wounded".

Nurses have experienced difficulty with the hierarchy in medicine that has resulted in an impression that nurses' primary purpose is to follow the direction of physicians. This tendency is certainly not observed in Nightingale's Notes on Nursing, where the physicians are mentioned relatively infrequently, and often in critical tones—particularly relating to bedside manner.

In the early 1900s, the autonomous, nursing-controlled, Nightingale era schools came to an end – schools became controlled by hospitals, and formal "book learning" was discouraged. Hospitals and physicians saw women in nursing as a source of free or inexpensive labor. Exploitation was not uncommon by nurse’s employers, physicians and educational providers. Nursing practice was controlled by medicine.

The modern era has seen the development of nursing degrees and nursing has numerous journals to broaden the knowledge base of the profession. Nurses are often in key management roles within health services and hold research posts at universities. World War I

Before the late 19th century, and into the early 20th century, women doing nursing work were generally members of religious orders or were effectively domestic servants, with the same lowly social status, caring for the sick either in private homes or at charity hospitals serving the poor. Florence Nightingale's efforts to improve nursing standards in the mid-nineteenth century increased interest in occupational improvements that would benefit patients, with particular importance given to military settings. In 1860, Florence Nightingale's work resulted in Queen Victoria's order for a hospital to be built to train Army nurses and surgeons, the Royal Victoria Hospital. The hospital opened in 1863 in Netley and admitted...
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