When you think of nursing, you may think of Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, or maybe even the nurses of movies and television shows such as MASH, ER and Chicago Hope. Regardless of what triggers your thoughts, the nursing profession has been one of the most respected in history, and its history goes back decades.
The history of modern day nursing can trace its roots back to nuns and military personnel. In time of peace and war, there were individuals that would care for the sick and wounded. However, while compassionate and eager to help, these caregivers were not trained like the nurses of today, and worked in conditions that were not good for the patients.
One of the first big developments in nursing occurred during the Crimean War, where Florence Nightingale looked to improvement the conditions for soldiers. She authored a book titled Notes on Nursing which laid the foundation for professional nursing.
Other famous nurses during the history of nursing include Clara Barton, who helped found the Red Cross, Agnes Jones who helped establish nursing schools in the United States, Linda Richards, who was the first graduate of a U.S. Nursing School program, and Ellen Dougherty, who was the first this countries first Registered Nurse.
Over the course of history nurses have played an important part in the military. Nursing dates back as far as the Civil War, as nurses such as Dorothea Dix tried to help wounded soldiers of both the North and South. Nurses have also been involved as caregivers in World War I, World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War.
In the past decade how nurses look has also changed. Instead of wearing nurses caps, which were a tribute to nuns who were the original nurses, today’s nurses look different than those fifty years ago. Another big change is the increase in the number of male nurses in the profession. Over the past few decades the number of males in the nursing profession has increased, and it is expected that in future years, the number will continue to rise.
Nursing has been a valuable profession and one that is worthwhile to people that has pursued this profession. Nursing has changed over the years; however what hasn’t changed is the dedication and compassion of the nursing professionals.
- History of Nursing (VCU)
- Medicine Through Time
- History of Nursing Resources
- Center for Nursing History
- Florence Nightingale
- Notes on Nursing
- The Life of Clara Barton
- Famous Nurses in History
- Women Nurses in the Civil War
- The History of Wartime Nurses
- History of Nurses in the Military
- Black Nurses in History
- Men in Nursing
- Nursing Programs
- Nursing Shortage Fact Sheet