History of Nursing
Nursing is an essential part of the American health care system. Nearly 3.1 million nurses work in diverse settings across the country. People can find nurses in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, sporting facilities, and clinics. The nursing field has been a valuable service to the American public since the 1800s.
The Beginning with Florence Nightingale
In 1854, the British government asked Nightingale to take a small group of nurses to a military hospital to care for the sick and wounded. It only took a few days for Nightingale to reorganize the hospital based on 19th-century science. She scrubbed the walls, opened the windows for ventilation, and had nourishing food prepared. Within a few short weeks, the death rate of soldiers plummeted. They were no longer dying from poor sanitary conditions. At the end of the 19th century, the Western world adopted Nightingale’s beliefs about the need for educated nurses.
When the Profession Began to Organize
State nurse associations started to form, which were instrumental in passing state registration acts. These registration acts provided a licensing system for the nursing profession. At that time, getting the registration acts passed was a significant accomplishment because women had no political power. The registration acts provided nurses with a legal title; it was the first time people called them registered professional nurses.
Diversifying the Nursing Field
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