History of Nursing

Historical development of nursing

The development of nursing is divided into phases based on the events, which occurred that had some influence on the way in which care to the sick was offered. The various stages are highlighted below.

The period of Intuitive Nursing- During this ancient period, nursing was done out of a wish to care for or mercy to help the sick. This job was mainly assigned to women given that they were regarded as the ones who do take care of the young ones and nurture them. It was therefore seen as a women’s duty to provide care for the sick. Men had their beliefs that one only gets ill due to attacks by evil spirits and thereby sought the services of Medicine Men to provide care. These people were thereby consulted as providers of care whenever a person fell sick (Rebekah, 1999).

Nursing in the Middle Ages – during this time, nursing was offered by Prisoners, religious people and other persons who were under the guidance of trainees in Nursing. Religious leaders initiated these programs. However, following the outbreak of wrath between Protestants and Catholics, many nurses fled leaving a huge burden on the delivery of care for the sick. This led to the use of Prostitutes, Alcoholics and prisoners as care providers. These events prompted Pastor Fleindner to establish an institute for the training of Deaconesses on nursing (Rebekah, 1999).

Nursing in 19th-20th Century- Provision of care was influenced by the emergence of wars, availability of educational opportunities for women and the need for social realization. From the wars, many troops were injured thus required urgent care. Nightingale, who had some training on nursing participated hugely on care for the injured troops and upon her return to England, a special fund for disposal was established which she used to start St. Thomas Hospital Training College. Here many people trained and served in various countries upon their graduation. This was the beginning of formal training in nursing. She described nursing as an art and a science. She further observed that the environment could be manipulated to enhance human health. Her work formed the basis of other subsequent theorists. In 1952, Hildegard Paplaw came up with the Interpersonal Relations Theory whereby he observed that there existed a strong relationship between a nurse and the sick and that nurses be formally trained to handle the sick. In 1955, Virginia Henderson, stressed on the need of enhancing the independence of patients to reduce hampering their progress upon discharge from hospitals. Another theorist, Faye Abdellah, developed the Nursing Theory emphasizing the need for providing adequate care to cater for all the patients’ needs (Rebekah, 1999).

Nursing in the 20th Century- This period reflects the provision of care in the modern world. Nurses are licensed, trained as either Diploma or Advanced degrees holders. Similarly, the use of modern technology has been adopted with the aim of improving healthcare provision. The World Health Organization has been formed with the aim of catering for the healthcare needs of the people of the world.     

The relationship between nursing science and the profession

The principles and ideals of nursing science are the basis upon which the profession of nursing is built (Stocking, 2007). Nursing science offers the theoretical background that equips the trainees for their engagement as nurses. Therefore, it gives the concepts underlying the reasoning behind decisions and acts made in nursing practice. The profession is only concerned with offering services while the science offers the reasoning for doing so or restraining from conduct in some activities. There is therefore a deep organic relationship between the knowledge of nursing and the nursing values. Nursing science provides the values for the professional practice of Nursing.

Nursing influence on philosophy, religion, education, anthropology and psychology

Nursing entails the provision of care with an aim of improving the health conditions of ill persons while philosophy centers on critical thinking or confronting some challenges that face human life. Since nursing aids the welfare of sick people, it strengthens philosophy’s arguments in support of the worth of life. Therefore, by enhancing the status of nursing, philosophy aids improving lives or saving lives. Religion values human life as being holy and therefore all efforts are necessary in the pursuit of healthier lives. This is exactly the concept of nursing which aims at helping, to save or to improve livelihoods. Education is searching for knowledge on some areas. Nursing requires that one be trained for that person to be a specialist in any area. Training of nurses is done at a diploma, associate degree, Bachelors level, etc. Therefore, the idea of nursing has further strengthened the need for education thereby improving the literacy levels especially in the area of health care provision.

Anthropology entails the study of humanity starting from its evolution and development while Nursing is involved whenever human life begins. Therefore, supporting the studies of anthropology on birth of humans, as a way of introducing human life to the world is valuable (Rebekah 1999). Nursing applies during giving birth and in the subsequent healthcare provision. On the other hand, Anthropology focuses on birth and development of species. Therefore, there is a close link between the two. Social sciences tend to study on the behaviors of humans (Williams 2005). Through proper nursing, healthy individuals are free from disease and any stress that may compromise their social behaviors, an aspect that gives the individuals studying the relationships and behavior an easy task in analyzing healthy persons. Regarding psychology, the focus is on the study of the human mind. Nursing further assists in such analysis through taking care of the unwell. Caring for the unwell contributes towards psychological development since it entails understanding of issues uplifting the sick. 

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