The Evolution of Nursing

Nursing is a profession that can be recalled and accounted for since prehistoric times to now it has since come a long way. In fact in earlier times nursing was only a practice reserved for men. The first nursing school was established in India in about 250 B. C. , and only men were permitted to attend because men were viewed to be more pure than women, until the 1800’s when nursing became an organized practice. Should one embark on a research about the history of nursing one would gather a lot of information, both interesting and controversial.

However our group did in fact embark on a research on the history of nursing or should I say the evolution of nursing. We realized that as time went by the definition of nursing continued changing as well as the way it is viewed. Many persons were involved in the evolution of nursing. The four periods of nursing are the intuitive period, apprentice period, modern period and contemporary period. In the beginning Intuitive Nursing was the first period of nursing which was before the 11th century during the pre-historic times nursing was done because of their compassion and their wish to help others.

It was learned in the manner untaught, but everything was only based on their instincts. Some of the ways that they learned was by taking care of children, the sick and the aged. During this period, people believed that when a person got ill, the cause of their illness was because of an invasion of an evil spirit on the victim’s body through the use of “black magic” or “voodoo”. Hence the people used “shaman ” or “witch doctor” (albularyo) to heal their illness. There was also “trephination”, which was done by drilling a hole on the victim’s skull in the belief that the evil spirit and all bad elements will be released.

While this practice was evident in this period the knowledge that each individual acquire was base on observation and experiences. Within the Intuitive period times evolved and changed from Nomadic to Agrarian and finally to an Urban Community Life. Nurses were also given the names of slave wives, sisters or mothers. As time passed during this period there was a strong contribution from ancient civilization to medicine and nursing. This allowed individuals the choice to choose between a charm, medication and surgical procedures to cure their diseases.

Other contributions was when the Egyptians made or came up with the concept of embalming that deals with the enhancement of human anatomy, also the observation to identify and recognizes diseases. Then Rome they initiated an idea where the sick can be visited, and this concept was delivered by the Deaconesses. Their main objective was to feed the sick, clothed the naked, give water to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned and feed the hungry. However the end of the intuitive period brought about the beginning of the apprentice period, which ended self taught nursing and started on- the- job training.

The Period of Apprentice Nursing began in the 11th century and ended in 1836. This type of nursing provided individuals with less traditional academic background and educational training they needed to enter the nursing profession. Apprentice nurses were directed by more experienced nurses who were trained under the Deaconesses School of Nursing in Kaiserwerth, Germany established by Pastor Theodore Fleidner and his wife. During this period the Crusades which were holy wars, attempted to recapture the holy lands, they also established hospitals which were staffed by men.

Apart from that the Secular Order was a group developed for women to obtain training but the only way to enter was through a Convent. To name a few women in this group, Madam Jeanne Mance she was one of the first lady woman that worked as a nurse in North America. She also found the Hotel Dieu of Montreal which was known as a cabin hospital. St Clare she took vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, she gave nursing care to the sick and the afflicted. St Catherine of Siena she was a hospital nurse, a prophetess a researcher and a reformer of society in church.

Within the period of apprentice nursing there was a Dark Period which extends from the 17th – 19th century. Nursing became the work of the less desirable women; these women took bribes from patients, stole patients’ food and used alcohol as tranquilizers. At this time no provision were made for the sick and no one took care of the sick. Following this period Modern Nursing was introduced by Florence Nightingale who saw the need for development in nursing. Modern Nursing is similar to what has been done for years.

However the nurses responsibilities is of greater demands because of the advancement that was incorporated over the years, but rest assured the patients need is still at the forefront. The Period of Modern Nursing began on the 15th of June 1860 when Florence Nightingale School of Nursing opened in St. Thomas Hospital in London. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is the founder of Modern Nursing. She followed her Christian divine calling and committed herself to Nursing, caring for others especially poor people. She also dedicated her life to care for the sick and war wounded victims. In 1844 Florence Nightingale began visiting hospitals.

She even spent time with nursing sisters of St. Vincent de Paul in Alexandria in 1850 and one year later she studied at the institute for Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, Germany. In March, 1853, Russia invaded Turkey, Britain and France concerned about the growing power of Russia. This conflict became known as the Crimean War. Moreover reports of suffering of the British Army influenced Florence Nightingale to volunteer her services to the wounded. She was eventually given permission to take a group of thirty-eight nurses to Turkey, although there was considerable prejudice against women involved in Nursing.

By the end of the war she became a legend by demonstrating dramatically that Nursing and sanitation could reduce mortality, and by showing what nursing can do but more importantly she developed the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing with the testimonial funds she collected from the war services. She was also called ‘The Lady with the Lamp”. This title was given to her because of her belief that nurse’s care was never seizing night or day. In the Crimean war Florence Nightingale made her nightly rounds with her lamp while other nurses were asleep.

Although Florence Nightingale established the foundations of Nursing, it was roughly a hundred years later in the USA, the scientific era nursing began and the first nursing theories also began to surface. Hence, the birth of Contemporary Nursing which began after the World War 11 and is still currently in progress. Contemporary Nursing is Nursing that is directed and guided by an understanding of the definition of health and the factors that impacts a client’s health framework. In Contemporary nursing the nurses requires the possession of knowledge and skills for a variety of professional roles and responsibilities.

The Period of Contemporary Nursing can easily be distinguished from other periods because it’s marked by Scientific and Technological development as well as Social changes. Contemporary Nursing was influenced by the historical past and caring traditions of nursing, which actually means that although nursing has progressed it still carries its caring traditions. The configuration of this present period was influenced by Nursing Theorist who laid the foundation for Contemporary Nursing. To name a few of these theorists, Virginia Henderson (1897-1996), Martha. E. Rogers (1914-1994), Dorothy Johnson (1919-1999), Jean Watson.

During this period a lot of trends and events took place which include: the establishment of The World Health Organization by the United Nations, which provides health information and assist in fighting diseases by improving living standards and environmental conditions of all persons, the use of Nuclear Energy towards medical diagnosis and treatment, employment of computers for teaching, collecting data, establishing diagnosis, maintaining directory, making payroll, billing and record keeping, the use of sophisticated equipment for diagnosis and therapy, the dawn of Space Medicine which also brought out the development of Aerospace Nursing, health is also professed a fundamental right, technology advances which include the development of disposable equipment and supplies which inturn relieved the nurse from a number of tedious tasks, development of the expanded role of the nurse, nurses are constantly assuming responsibilities in patient care which were formerly the sole responsibility of the doctor. Additionally nursing became a dynamic profession because of the latitudes of nursing practice. Trends and events in this period of Contemporary Nursing will continue to expand in the light of the modern development in the constantly changing world.

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