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Nursing Through Time Essay

1747 words - 7 pages

In today’s society nursing has had to face several challenges in its pursuit in becoming a recognised profession. Nursing has gone through many stages of attached stigma, changing as technology and society evolved as a whole. Going from a low social class responsibility in the 19th century, to becoming a well-respected profession that it has become today, public perception, the way in which society views, has changed greatly in the last two hundred years. Along with these changes has come a large change in technology which is causing the responsibility of nurses to change as well as now individual actions are tainting the image of the nursing profession. This is due to the technological evolution with mass communication drawing attention to negative actions of nursing individuals which is overshadowing the positive aspects of nursing.

The public’s perception of nursing today differs from that of the nineteenth and twentieth century. During the 1800’s nursing was not seen as a profession, but a role that was undertaken by lower class women in society. (Klainberg & Dirschel, 2010). The skill of looking after the ill and child bearers was considered that of low status. Nursing was displayed throughout the current times media outlets, most of which were novels, as being poor, dirty, alcoholics as seen in Charles Dickinson novel Martin Chuzzlewit. It wasn’t until the work of Florence Nightingale in the mid 1800’s that the public’s perception of what nurse was changed. (Daly, Speedy, & Jackson, 2014) Until than the majority of nurses had been prostitutes and the poor due to low statues, so when Nightingale, a woman of the high class Victorian Era became a nurse this was a new idea. She worked within the war as a nurse, taking detailed patient notes and advocating for hygiene, fresh air and sunlight as well as fighting the traditional ward corridor set up. With her success survival rates increased within her war ward, greater training was developed for nursing and the barrier for nursing between high and low class was starting to break down. (Horsley, 2010). However it was in the early 20th century that the public’s perception of nursing became mainly one of respect. The Great War exposed many women to horrific conditions of which previously man had thought them to delicate the even process. By the end of the War the contribution that had been given my military nurses had earned the respect and gratitude their fellow countrymen. (1918: Australians in France - Nurses - "The roses of No Man's Land", n.d.) As time passed nursing became a romanticised within society. The media started creating films with nursing which all showed nurses fighting and overcoming darkness. This demonstrates how far the nursing perception had developed, showing nurses as heroes. However in the mid 1900’s nursing began to take a step back as the post war baby boom domesticated women. Women portrayed in the media as nurses began to take a step away from the camera, leading to...

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