The Evolution of Nursing
Nursing is one of the oldest professions. It isn’t a static occupation, as it has changed frequently over time. Its development and evolution has changed differently depending on the historical influences. As of today the nursing profession is changing and becoming larger and greater. Nursing has gone from being a career that did not require an education, to being one that is very respected and demands a high education.
The first nurses were usually women of the community who were often paid to take care of the sick. The most popular nurses were wet nurses who were women who was ready to have a child, a woman who had a child that didn’t survive birth, or who could feed more that one child. All nurses at this time would work at someones house because there was no such thing as a hospital until 1751, but even then people didn’t think of them as a good and safe place to go.
During the Civil War they really worked towards building more hospitals and it drove the nursing profession to grow and have a large demand for nurses, but they were more like volunteers, such as wives or mistresses who were following their soldier men. Being a war nursing at that time was seen as a job for the lower class and no “respectable” woman could be seen in a military hospital. During the Civil War Phoebe Levy Pember, a young widow, went north to the confederate capital of Richmond. She eventually ran the world’s largest hospital, where on an average day she would supervise the treatment of 15,000 patients who were cared for by nearly 300 slave women. The war then led to a greater respect for nurses which was noticed by Congress. They then passed a bill providing pensions to Civil War nurses, but more importantly this led to the profession moving more and more into hospitals and clinics rather than at patients homes. This also led to a large amount of nursing schools being built in the late nineteenth century.
The first nursing schools were very close with a specific hospital and the students there would live and work at the hospital. Their lives were very similar to the life of a nun. They were often referred to as “sisters, they were forbidden to marry, and their lives were very strictly disciplined. The student nurses were not paid at all and many of the hospitals would take advantage of the free labor and would often make them spend their days scrubbing floors, doing laundry, and other such tasks. The first graduate of nursing school and the first Professionally trained nurse in America. The image of nurses changed from being seen as somewhat less than an honorable profession to a respected one during the four decades between the civil war and the twentieth century.
Florence nightingale is perhaps the most influential person in the history of nursing. She and thirty-eight other volunteers were sent to the British camp during the Crimean War, and they immediately began to clean up the filthy conditions at the hospital, as...