Nursing History in the World
The nursing profession has developed throughout history, seeing a transformation in practice, types of caregivers, roles, and policy changes, but nursing remains a profession of caring and service to those in need. Many notable nurses have worked to revolutionize this career and have allowed nursing to evolve while simultaneously providing better care and circumstances in many situations.
The earliest nurses never attended nursing school; they were often nuns or other women who provided care for the sick, poor, or homeless without family support. Women were frequently called in to work as midwives to help deliver babies, or as wet nurses to breastfeed. During the Middle Ages, early hospitals were operated by nurses who were often affiliated with religious organizations. Many of these institutions were places for patients to die, with nurses providing comfort during the final hours.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the nursing profession expanded to include care of soldiers during many prominent wars. In 1853, Florence Nightingale served as a nurse during the Crimean War, during which she not only cared for the injured, but set standards of cleanliness in the areas where she worked; her sanitary reforms reduced the overall incidence of infection where they were implemented. Nightingale moved on to author a book called Notes on Nursing, which was written as a set of guidelines for other nurses. She eventually opened one of the first nursing schools, the Florence Nightingale School for Nurses in London in 1860.
Many nurses worked during the American Civil War; their stories and letters paid tribute to their circumstances and the large volume of casualties. Later, in 1881, Clara Barton developed a humanitarian program designed to meet the needs of those affected by disaster. Barton had served during the Civil War and understood the necessity of volunteer cooperation to meet the needs for food, clothing, and shelter for those in trouble....