Historical Timeline of Nursing Theorists
Historical Development of Nursing Timeline
Jill Dawson, BSN, RN, IBCLC
May 7, 2012
Historical Development of Nursing 2
The historical development of nursing has transformed over the years since the beginning writings of Florence Nightingale originating in 1859. Although she did not publish her work as nursing theory, Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing is presented as the first nursing theory and has directed practice for the past 150 years (George, 2011). Across this span of time, there have been dozens of theorists who have published work complementing the evolution of nursing as both a profession and a science. Despite Nightingale’s identification as the most famous name in nursing (Ellis, 2010), the first recognized theory of nursing was not published until 1952, by Hildegard Peplau (McCrae, 2012). Peplau’s Interpersonal Relations in Nursing was completed in 1948 and emphasized the nurse as the change agent for patients healing rather than physical treatments or organization of services (McCrae, 2012). In this theory, she “described an interactional process relevant to all nurses” (p. 223) that consists of four steps; orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution (McCrae, 2012). Similarly, Virginia Henderson identified that nursing is a response to functional needs of humans and equated health with independence. She describes 14 fundamental needs of humans and also intended her theory to apply to any spectrum of care giving (McCrae, 2012). These 14 components guide nurses in identifying areas where patients lack the ability to meet certain personal needs (George, 2011). During the 1960’s, the focus of theoretical nursing shifted from a problem and need focus to that of the relationship between nurse and patient, looking at “how nurses do what they do and how the patient perceives his situation” (George, 2011, p. 10). One prominent
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