Nursing Pioneers Compare and Contrast

12 December 2016

The biggest factor that all three of these women have in common is their role as pioneers in public health nursing. Their unselfish devotion to humanity served each of them as a fueling factor toward that end. This devotion can be seen by all three of their marital histories. Florence Nightingale never married a man, but instead her career as it was her belief that this was an imperative quality in an effective nurse.

Mary Breckinridge married twice and had two children. These children unfortunately passed away in the first six hours of life and at the age of four respectively. After her second marriage culminated in divorce, Breckinridge devoted herself to her career centered about the care of mothers and their newborn infants. Lillian Wald, similarly to Nightingale, never married, but instead devoted all of her being toward her career and philanthropy.

Nursing Pioneers Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Each of these ladies also played crucial roles in starting different schools of nursing: Nightingale with the first formal, professional training program in nursing, Wald in the foundation of Columbia’s school of nursing, and Breckinridge with her school of nursing midwifery. These women were also authors and wrote memoirs/books about their nursing experience and what it meant to them. Finally, all three of these nurses came from families that were well off and able to live comfortably, but they chose to use their money and influence to give back to the community by means of public health nursing.

These women also contributed a little bit differently to the field of nursing as individuals. Florence Nightingale pioneered the sanitation of hospitals, promoted hygiene, and more diligent hospital administration. Her school’s original mission was to train nurses how to work in hospitals, work with the poor, and to educate patients. The prime of Nightingale’s life was a little bit earlier than Wald’s or Breckinridge’s as she was born fifty and sixty years prior to the latter two ladies.

In many ways, Florence Nightingale provided the pathway for nurses such as Wald and Breckinridge to become pioneers in their own right. Lillian Wald was well known for her social work with orphaned children and destitute, immigrant families in the Lower East Side in Manhattan. She founded the Henry Street Settlement there and actually coined the term ‘public health nursing. ’ Wald is also credited with being the founder of visiting nursing in North America.

Mary Breckinridge was well known for her founding of the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS). This service started family care centers throughout the rural parts of Kentucky into the Appalachian mountains. Her children’s deaths, combined with her experiences with midwives in France and Britain, inspired her to rise up to the calling of a caregiver for rural mothers and babies in the United States. She began training as a midwife, was eventually certified, and upon her return to the US, she began the FNS to target that population in need of care.

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