History Of Nursing

800 Words4 Pages
In order to review the current issues encompassing the profession of nursing, it is necessary to first review the history of nursing and how both societal and historical factors have influenced and shaped the profession. While the current hospital system is thought by many to have been created in the late nineteenth century, nursing scholars and historians argue that the modern hospital has a much longer history, with its foundations being found in the early Christian era (Nelson 2000, p3). During the early Christian period, religious orders fulfilled the early role of nurses, believing it to be ‘an integral part of Christian practice’ (Daly Speed Jackson 2012 p. 18). Followers of the Christian faith would seek to imitate the work of Jesus Christ and would care for the sick in hospices, staffed by members of the congregation who were known as ‘faith community’ nurses (Daly Speed Jackson, 2012 pp. 18-19). These early hospitals provided shelter, food and aid to the sick and infirm, under the direction of the local priests and physicians. While the art of nursing was practiced during this time, it was also a time of great superstition and cruelty, with illness being attributed to evil spirits and witchcraft, often resulting in the barbaric treatment of the ill and mentally disturbed (Funnell Koutoukidis Lawrence 2010, pp 4-5). It was during the nineteenth century, that progress was made in the field of medicine and a more complex understanding of disease and ill health was formed (Funnell Koutoukidis Lawrence 2010 p5). Due to the patriarchal structure and gender bias of the time, the science of medicine was considered solely a male field of expertise. Women were thought to be biologically unsuited to the field of medicine due to their supposed lower intelligence and fragile nature (Nelson 2000, pp 6-7). While male doctors were highly educated, well
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