History Of Nursing

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The History of Nursing

Prior to 1850 the state of nursing worldwide was substandard. Often places of treatment were dirty, unsanitized environments, diseased ridden and highly contagious with floating airborne diseases such as small pox, tuberculosis and measles. Nursing started as an intuitive way of caring for the sick members of the family, nursing was untaught and instinctive. Often unskilled women commonly prostitutes, women over the age of 30 with no family or hope of marriage , and catholic sisters of mercy were offered or promoted to nursing roles despite having no education or training. A large majority of these women could not read nor write. Cushing (1992, pg 72-95). Most common nursing practice would take place in people’s homes, in back yard butcher shops or convents were the nuns would attend to the sick; these acts of care were often performed without a doctor presence. When nurses did work alongside doctors in these early years there role was often just to observe and take on minimal task. At no time would nurse’s act on their own instincts or commands they were there to do as they were told. Nurses had no involvement in the decision making process or the development of care plans for their patients. At this point of time nursing was viewed as a very low job in the social hierarchy of things meaning they weren’t seen as valuable members within there communities who contribute to the welfare and safety of others they were deemed not important. Cushing, (1992, pp 108–32).

By 1858 Florence nightingale a English nurse known as the lady of lamp Changed the face of nursing from a mostly untrained profession to a highly skilled and well respected medical profession. Making her the mother of modern nursing, Florence nightingale then went onto training nurses and eventually sent 5 of her best trained nurses commonly known as Lucy Osborn, Mary
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