History of Nursing

The topic of this paper is to identify historical events in nursing. This topic grasps my attention because I am on the track to become a nurse, and feel I need to know about the history of nursing. The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader about historical highlights in nursing. In The Beginning American Nurses Association defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and population”( Potter,P. Perry, A. 2005,1-5). Thus making nursing dynamic and ever changing. However, when nursing first began it was completely different than modern day nursing. Nursing was not dynamic but was a “domestic art passed down from mother to daughter. “( Stanley, Judith, M. ,(1996)) Nursing is documented as far back as 300 AD as the first time women started nursing and caring for others (Potter,P. ,& Perry, A. 2005,1-5). Wet nurses or dry nurses was the title of nurses in the 14th century that took care of infants, and this was the primary role of the nurse during these times. ( History of

Nursing: Birth of the Nurses) Florence Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing and first nursing philosophy. Her philosophy was built off “health maintenance and restoration in Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not. “( Potter,P. ,& Perry, A. 2005,1-5) Her philosophy was based Offa “spiritual philosophy, developed in her adolescence and adulthood, and reflected the changing needs of society. “( Potter,P. ,& Perry, A. 2005,1-5) Nightingale saw nursing as being in “charge of somebodys health a state to be free of disease or to recover from disease”. ( Potter,P. ,& Perry, A. 2005,1-5)

She also started an organized program for all trained nurses, the Nightingale Training School for Nurses as St. Thomas Hospital in London. ( Potter,P. ,& Perry, A. 2005,1-5) In 1633, Louise de Marillac founded Sisters of Charity. This was the “first educational program to be affiliated with a religious nursing order” (Potter,P. ,& Perry, A. 2005,1-5). In fact, when the Civil War began the only professional nurses in the Bible belt were affiliated with the Sisters of Charity and Sisters of Mercy. These nurses were Roman Catholic nuns. The only other women that associate themselves with the medical field would be the midwives.

At this time in history nursing was part of the home life and was the woman’s Job to complete. To be quite honest that is how society at the time thought nursing should be. (Parker, Sandra,V. , 1993) A soldier during the civil war wrote to his wife and said “Do no think of coming here as a nurse. It is no place for a young and inexperienced lady… You cannot imagine the labor you would have to undergo, and disgusting much of it is”( Parker, Sandra,V. , 1993). This typical thought did not stop the women longing to care, help, and be a nurse to the injured soldiers.

For example, Felicia Porter founded Women’s Relief Society of the Confederate States out of her own home and then expanded throughout the Southern States. Many times though a woman that started volunteering as a nurse during the war started by Just caring and visiting a love one or friend in the hospital. (Parker, Sandra,V. , 1993) One Step Closer toa Professional Later on hospitals hired matrons (nurses) to help with the injured soldiers, but only in emergency situations. The matron was first established to manage the hospital’s money for quality food and diet.

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