How has nursing practice evolved over time? Discuss the key leaders and historical events that have influenced the advancement of nursing, nursing education, and nursing roles that are now part of the contemporary nursing profession.
Nursing has evolved over time from being the work of men and “medicine men” who took care of the sick or injured because no one else would do it, to a well respected, highly educated and desirable profession. Nursing had become a job for the “undesirables” in society — the immoral, the alcoholic, and the illiterate. Thankfully as time went on, there was a foundation set, the military and government took note of the importance of nursing and education.
Florence Nightingale was the pioneer in laying the foundation for nursing. She not only forged the way, she“enforced basic hygiene for patients and staff, proper handwashing, sanitation, ventilation, sunlight, and attention to diet.” Something no one had done before, she was able to teach and grow the profession to what it is today. If we look back at what she did, with her research she may have been the founder of evidence based practice, before it had a name. She wrote a book and started the first nurse training school.
The need for nursing services continued during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Women came from all over trained and not trained to take care of the sick and wounded fighting the war. The respect of what these women did caught the governments attention, however as training programs and early nursing schools were established there were racial and gender barriers, men and African Americans were discriminated against.
As the world evolved, people were educated about the profession, schools opened their doors and allowed admission for all genders and races to become nurses. It became a highly desired career where men and women were taught nursing research, evidence based practice, learned the skills needed to safely and effectively care for the ill.
- I agree with you when you say Nightingale may have been the founder of evidence based practice. Nightingale assessed her patient’s environment, collected data, went back and analyzed those data and came up with her theory. One of the difference between now and then is that we have advanced technologies.
She was a leader in her time. And can you imagine the battles she faced getting people to pay attention to her as a woman? Hard to comprehend now
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Nursing is not a static profession, but changes almost daily and the profession as we know it today is vastly different than how it originated. To begin with, nursing was often done by “medicine men”, and women who cared for the sick were sometimes seen as witches (Solera-Deuchar et al., 2020). Essentially, nursing was seen as a low down profession, and left to people who could find no other work. Then, Florence Nightingale revolutionized nursing with her focus on caring for patients as a whole, and recognizing the role the environment has in a person’s health, and how a nurse can change an environment to help someone get better. Another influential leader was Clara Barton. Although without a nurses training, the need for care of soldiers during the Civil War led her to advertising for nurses and donations and organizing how to get these supplies distributed. This later led to the foundation of the American Red Cross (Lavin et al., 2017.). Around the 20th century the need for education for nurses was recognized, and different hospitals began implementing diploma programs. The students in these programs excelled clinically, as they practiced and learned at the bedside, while helping to staff the hospitals as well. Later, associate degree programs were developed by Mildred Montage in the 1950s. This was to give a better theoretical and knowledge base for nurses, as well as offer college credits at an affordable cost. This was beneficial as the need for nurses continued to grow. ADN schools grew and appeared all over the country, but in recent years there has been a drive for more baccalaureate prepared nurses to enter the practice. A further key development was the initiation of nurse registration. Looking at nursing now, it is evident how this is important to regulate and maintain quality of the nursing workforce. Another important figure is Alice Magaw, who was unique in her time in the 1900s in researching and writing about the practice she worked in, which was largely in the field of anesthesia (Ray & Desai, 2016.). This is important because as we know now, nurses can continue to several different masters and doctoral degree programs, such as specializing in anesthesia. All these programs are based off research and evidence based practice which continues to be essential to nursing.
Solera-Deuchar, L., Mussa, M. I., Ali, S. A., Haji, H. J., & McGovern, P. (2020). Establishing views of traditional healers and biomedical practitioners on collaboration in mental health care in Zanzibar: a qualitative pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 14, 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-020-0336-1
Lavin, R., Adelman, D., & Veenema, T. (2017). Society for the advancement of disaster nursing: Exploring the path to excellence. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 11(6), 641-646. doi:10.1017/dmp.2017.10
Ray, W. T., & Desai, S. P. (2016). The history of the nurse anesthesia profession. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, 30, 51–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinane.2015.11.005
Summarizes what was learned from the lesson, readings, and other student posts for the week. • Meets expectations of 2 posts on 2 different days.
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