Evolution of Professional Nursing

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When it comes to nurses, they are said to be the most trusted or the backbone per say in healthcare. Of course the Doctor is making all the decisions but the ones caring and taking care of the patients “Hands On” or “One-on-one” are the Nurses. Nurses have come a long way in this amazing world or ours. According to Doris Weatherford, Nursing may be the oldest known profession, as some nurses were paid for their services from the beginning. This was especially true of wet nurses, who nursed a baby when the mother died or could not nurse her child. A woman whose infant did not survive birth, or who was ready to wean her child, or who was capable of nursing more than one baby, would accept employment as a wet nurse, usually going to live in the home of her employer. (Weatherford, 2010). Believe it or not at first nursing was mostly done in someone’s home instead of a hospital. That was until the first hospital in the United states was ever built, Pennsylvania Hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin. (Penn Medicine, 2017). The hospital was known for taking care of the clinically insane and the poor. It wasn’t until centuries later that hospitals had a good enough reputation and it was safe enough for the general public to utilize for their own needs. The Civil War, according to research, was one of the biggest reason why hospitals started getting built more and more. One of the best known nurse at the time, was Mary Ann Bickerdyke of Illinois. After witnessing suffering soldiers who had literally no one to care for them, she went on to be the only woman that General William T. Sherman allowed with his army. At the Tennessee battle of Lookout Mountain, she was the sole nurse for some two thousand men. (Weatherford, 2010).

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The field of nursing has evolved significantly over the past 150 years, especially since Florence Nightingale began revolutionizing modern health care in the1800s. Florence Nightingale was one of the first nurses who assisted in training in the late 1800’s where she taught women that wanted to be caregivers. The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible. (Virginia Avernal Henderson, 2010). (Burggraf, 2012).

Nurses used to be known or stereotyped to be only female and wearing white dresses and heeled shoes, taking temperatures with mercury-glass thermometers and every note was written on a paper chart. Evolution, as I like to call it, has made it possible for nurses to be male and female, instead of wearing white dresses now multi-colored scrubs are worn with comfortable shoes. Instead of using mercury-glass thermometers, which have now become a safety issue, We have progressed to fabricating the temporal thermometer that only requires a quick swipe across the patients forehead. Medical records have also changed from papers charts to Electronic Medical Records or EMR. Nurses who work in hospitals today can take advantage of modern technology that helps improve their accuracy and efficiency while caring for patients. Mobile apps put pertinent medical information right at their fingertips, implantable devices can administer medications to patients and special beds alleviate heavy lifting. (Duquesne University, 2018).

In conclusion, The development of Nursing has come a long way from the 1700’s and still have so much more to learn as well as grow. There will always nurses eager to learn new things and expand their knowledge. While nursing was once viewed as an extension of a woman’s caretaking role at home, modern nurses take on more responsibilities than ever before. In fact, many states have granted full-practice authority to nurse practitioners, allowing them the autonomy to act as primary-care providers and prescribe medications without physician oversight. (Duquesne University, 2018). Today nurses are not seen as the doctor’s assistants, but as highly trained professionals with medical knowledge as well as keeping up the impeccable streak when it comes to patient care. Nurses will continue to be in high demand into the foreseeable future.

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