Where did Nursing Begin (nursing from the dawn of time through 1800)
Nursing is a term used to refer to a profession that is concerned with the health care of individuals, families or communities so that they can either retain or recover the health or quality of life at its optimum state throughout the life of the individuals. This word nurse finds its origin from Latin word, nurtrire that has a meaning close to nourish. In the modern society, this profession has gained so much of accreditation and people can now hardly live without it. However, a backdrop of its history, approximately between 1500AD to 1800AD, reveals some dark spell of time for such a promising career.
How did it all begin? This is the question being addressed in this paper. Basing on history, in the periods of 1000 AD to 1500 AD, there was so much of crowding and poor sanitation. Consequently, nurses derived from the monasteries went to the community to offer services to the public. During the era, hospitals and health institutions were built. However, it was during the same period, thanks to politics of the time, that nursing lost both the economic and social support. This was so because it was not valued as an intellectual endeavor. As if to aggravate the situation further, Catholicism that supported monasteries and hospitals was almost brought to its knees with the rise of the Protestant Reformation. This definitely spelt doom to a profession that was trying to find its place in the society.
Nursing being an old profession, it was majorly associated with women. This is so because the women were linked with practices akin to nursing immediately after they gave birth. As days went by, the term nursing started gaining new meaning as now nurses were regarded as women who took care of young children. This definition stood the test of time until when the term was officially recognised as people who took care of the sickly (Walsh, 1929). However, it is critical to note that this event of the past has shaped much of the current composition of nurses especially in regards to gender composition of the nurses. Since women from time in memorial were deemed as people to take care of the sickly, it is evident that even in the now much advanced nursing profession has more of women than men do.
Resources stipulate that there was a nursing school as early as 250 B.C in India. Only pure people could be enrolled in the school to take care of those in need. With this regard, only men could be nurses because they were considered pure compared to women. In the 3 B.C., most hospitals in India trained men to be nurses. The main objective of the male nurses was to care for the sick and wounded while the doctors did surgeries (Dock, 1920).
It is also claimed that monastic nuns and prostitutes performed duties similar to those of the modern nurses during the middle ages. Middle ages are the times before the modern nursing day times. It is also claimed that men Nurses became to be known as people who wash and tend to wounds and the sick people. This was mostly in Europe and in the United States. Nursing was not very common but improvements in this field started to be done in the 16th century. In 1568, a landmark event occurred in relation to the field of nursing. Bernardino de Obregón founder the Obregones nurses or poor nurses’ brothers in Spain. This small foundation expanded rapidly in the following decades. Obregones foundation came up with some nursing instructions, which were printed in 1617. All the people who enrolled for nursing classes were supposed to follow the guidelines provided accordingly.
With this occurrence in Spain, people in other countries were inspired to continue with this noble field. This was clearly seen in the following century 17th century when more than four landmark occurrences happened. In 1633, the daughters of charity of Saint Vincent De Paul (servants of the sick) were founded in France. One of the unique characters of this organization is the fact that they would treat the sick from their homes. They would through the towns where they could be informed of the sick people and visit them at their homes. If the sick needed more care, they would be taken to hospital where the nurses would care for them until they are healed (Nutting and Dock, 1912).
Twelve years later, the first hospital in North America l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal was established by Jeanne Mance in Montreal Quebec, Canada. Hôtel-Dieu is a French term, which means hostel of God. Jeanne Mance was the very first nurse in the New France in the modern day Canada. The Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph nuns staffed this hospital was by. The hospital faced many challenges because it was build at a time when there was intense scramble for land among the super powers of the time. In fact, it was burnt down several times but was rebuild. This hospital is still where it was built during those times though it has been rebranded to a modern day hospital and campus.
The other big thing that happened in the 17th century was foundation of the Sisters of charity care was established on the battlefields of Sedan and Arras in France in 1654-1656. Four years later, there were more than forty houses of charity in France alone. These houses were introduced to other countries and used to help the sick and those in need in their own homes. This helped very many people especially the poor and the sick in very populated regions and cities like Paris. There were more than 26 houses of charity within Paris alone (Sellew and Ebel, 1955).
This trend continued in the following 18th century. During the Indian and French wars in 1775, Rabia Choraya who was the head nurse of the Moroccan went with the army to war. She and her team treated the injured soldiers as well as any soldier who got sick during the war. Her team inspired many nurses in the later years. In fact, it is thought that she inspired Florence nightingale who did the same. About eight years later, James Derham who was a slave in New Orleans was able to buy his freedom using money he had earned as nurse. This made people think that they could make enough money to sustain themselves with nursing as a career. This inspired very many people and they started to take nursing very seriously (Webster, 2009).
Much effort in the advancement of the nursing profession was evident in the 19th century. A significant event that occurred at around the year 1820 was the opening of a hospital in Petersburg, Virginia by a slave settler, Jansey Snow. This individual emphasised on the need of the society adopting ways of taking care of the sick. This rare was a positive challenge to many other people who now began appreciating the need of taking care of the sick. This is clearly depicted in the Dorothy Dix case of 1844. Dorothy testified to New Jersey legislature claiming that the mentally ill were mistreated and there was need to change this perception.
In the year 1844, the founder of modern nursing Florence nightingale travelled to Germany with the aim of studying nursing concepts. She studied at the Institution of Deaconesses for three months before going back to her home in England. Six years later, Nightingale went for another nursing training at the institute of St Vincent De Paul in Alexandria Egypt. After her training in Egypt, she visited daughters of charity in Paris to learn their nursing concepts and techniques. In the following year, Nightingale and 38 other volunteers were sent to Turkey at the height of Crimean war to take care of the injured soldiers. She voluntarily went and assisted the people that needed assistance. These volunteers also helped the doctors by arranging the equipment well (Judd, et al).
Pose a question to any individual with some background about nursing and he or she will not hesitate to mention the name of Florence Nightingale. Undoubtedly, if any one is to be credited as the mother of professional nursing then she deserves it unreservedly. Nursing for so long was associated with poor people who were regarded as drunkards and prostitutes. However, Nightingale, a young educated woman from a middle class shocked everyone when she decided to practice nursing as her profession. According to her, she felt that it was a calling from God and so she went to Germany to study nursing.
Florence Nightingale in conjunction with other volunteers played a significant role in changing people’s perception as regards to nursing as a profession. She introduced a system through which they could keep record effectively. The record assisted the nurses and doctors to take care of the patients effectively. Interest in nursing grew and more people interested were taught at the hospitals and institutions which offered the course. During the times of Florence nightingale, nurses worked for 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The time was scheduled such that when a nurse finishes the 12 hours, she leaves and another nurse takes control for the next 12 hours. This system is used up until now though the shifts vary from hospital to hospital (Andrist, Nicholas and Wolf 1980).
According to nightingale, nurses should be given the responsibilities of dusting and cleaning furniture and other equipment in the hospitals, washing the dishes and other cleaning responsibilities. After two to three years, the nurses should be given more responsibilities like sterilizing equipments in the wards and operating rooms. They are given these responsibilities because they are more experienced in cleaning. Once they are done with this, they can be given the responsibilities of caring for the wounded for instance cleaning and dressing them.
In the following years after nightingale went to Crimean war, more improvements continued. For example, in 1856, Biddy mason was granted freedom after which she moved to Los Angles and became a nurse and a mid wife. She used the money she has to start businesses becoming a very successful businessperson. In the following year of 1857, Ellen Ranyard started a group of social workers, which pioneered the first nursing programme in London. These social workers in this group were paid and were the foundation of paid social workers in the world (Judd, et al).
Florence Nightingale in the later years such as 1860 engaged herself in the publication of books, journal and magazines related to the nursing profession. These publications assisted much in the learning techniques of the modern nurses. In the following years, there was a significant rise in the number of female nurses who devoted themselves in practising it practically or facilitating its operation. A case in point is Sally Tompkins, in the year 1961 that opened a confederate hospital that was later followed by a union army nursing home. Moreover, Linda Richards became the first trained nurse after graduating from the New England hospital for women and children. In addition, it was in this same year that a nursing home attributed to Florence Nightingale was opened in New York.
At that point, nursing was becoming a profession for every person who had a passion for helping those in need. During this time, there were nurses in other countries including Japan and other Asian countries. In 1880, Clara Barton who became the first president of the institution founded the American Red Cross society (). In 1884, Mary Agnes Snively became the first nurse in Ontario to be trained in accordance to the Florence Nightingale principles. After she was done with the training, she became the superintendent of the Toronto general hospital. Linda Richards started the first Nursing institution in Japan in 1885. In the following year, the first institution for African Americans was started Spelman seminary. The trained nurse journal publication starts to be published in 1888 (Dingwall, 1988).
The decade of 1890s, there were major developments in the nursing. It was in this decade that the American association of nursing was formed, the international council of nurses was formed and teaching of nursing was started in many institutions like universities and colleges. In the same decade, the visiting nurse organization that taught people nursing principles was formed. Orphanages for children without parents were advocated. They started to be opened up in the east coast of present day United States.
According to Andrist et al. (2006), ‘‘by the mid-1970s, the nursing profession was in the midst of a collective feminist consciousness’’. In those days, it was believed that nurses faced unique challenges ‘often viewed within the context of gender and professionalism’’ (Andrist et al., 2006 p.313). However, the concept of working as a team in the nursing profession was influenced by the ‘‘wartime experiences and the emerging human relations school of management’’ (Andrist et al., 2006 p.312).
In conclusion, nursing profession has had a long history in development to become what it is in this twenty first century. It forms one of the careers that it is highly respected, the contrast of what it was before 1800 AD. Today, millions of individuals can now enjoy the health services from the highly trained nurses who exhibit high sense of ethics. But all in all, this advancement in this profession was greatly shaped by Florence Nightingale, who decided to break lose from the discriminative society and show the rest of the affluent population that there is much satisfaction in doing service to the community. As such, I must accordingly summarize by acknowledging the efforts of this great woman in shaping the profession of nursing.
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