continued Nursing has a long history.
“Early civilizations believed that good spirits brought health; evil spirits brought sickness and death,” Wright related. “Back then, physicians were medicine men who treated disease through dance and rituals. The nurse was usually the family’s female elder, who tended to the needs of the patient by providing food, herbal remedies, warmth and comfort.”
Nursing continued to evolve, taking a major step forward when Nightingale took an interest in it.
Born in England in 1820 to a wealthy family, Nightingale was well educated and traveled extensively. Despite protests by her family she became a nurse at the age of 31. The outbreak of the Crimean War gave Nightingale an opportunity to organize nursing care in a military hospital in Turkey. She successfully overcame many difficulties, elevated the status of nurses and introduced quality to nursing care. Back home in England she established the first nurse training school and wrote books about nursing education and health care.
“Nightingale’s work focused attention on the need for educated nurses,” Wright explained. “Schools of nursing were founded, usually in connection with hospitals.”
Nursing progressed during the next few decades before World War II brought major changes.
“The coming of World War II had a tremendous impact on nursing,” Wright said. “More and more women worked outside the home, the need for nurses grew and there resulted an explosion of knowledge in medicine and technology. Nursing education was upgraded substantially; it moved into university settings and led to degrees in nursing for both men and women. Emphasis on nursing knowledge as the base for nursing practice led to the establishment of nursing as a professional discipline.”