Historical Development of Nursing Timeline
Nursing is an art and a science. This coexistence assists in the development and advancement of nursing to a higher level of professional practice. The art of nursing emphasizes interpersonal relationships between the nurse and the patient, empathy, and dedication to caring for a patient. The science is the foundation of nursing that guides nursing care based upon the latest scientific discoveries within the nursing and other related disciplines such as medicine, psychology, and social sciences (Walker & Avant, 2011).
In biblical times, female members of societies were responsible for caring for ill. There was neither organized care, nor science behind the methods of caring: the approaches were passed among the women and were centered on their religious views on sickness and health. The people who provided care were untrained and often belonged to the lowest economic classes, such as slaves. The first organized groups who performed nursing care were male nursing orders in 1300s, such as the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Anderson, 1981). During the 16th and 17th century, nursing jobs fell into “dark ages” becoming synonymous with alcoholism, prostitution, and the waste of society (Anderson, 1981, p. 20).
The first nursing school, the Deaconess School of Nursing at Kaiserwerth, Germany was established in 1836. Physicians instructed nursing students about bedside care and how to provide nursing care (Anderson, 1981).
The development of nursing science is traced back to Florence Nightingale, whose initial study “Notes of Nursing” (1859) represents the first nursing theory (George, 2011). Nightingale supported her nursing experiences with statistical data. Nightingale’s analysis of the positive impact of a clean environment on decreasing morbidity and mortality among the soldiers during the Crimean War became the model for changing the nursing
References: Anderson, N. E. (1981). The Historical Development of American Nursing Education. Journal of Nursing Education, 20(1), 18 – 36. Burns, N. & Grove, S. K. (2007). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders. George, J. B. (2011). Nursing theories: The base for professional nursing practice (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Walker, K. & Holmes, C. A. (2008). The ‘order of things’: Tracing a history of the present through a re-reading of the past in nursing education. Contemporary Nurse, 30, 106 – 118. Walker, L. O. & Avant, K. C. (2011). Strategies for theory construction in nursing (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall.