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Google Scholar. Mortimer, B. Wrede, S. CrossRef Google Scholar. Yeates, N. References Aiken, L. Buchan, J. Sochalski, B. Nichols and M. Allsop, J. Bourgeault, J. Evetts, K. Jones, T. Le Bianic and S. Black, L. Spetz and C. Societal Trend or Workplace Crisis? Neiterman and S.

Bourgeault, I. Brush, B. Rafferty, J. Robinson and R. Sochalski and A. Chanda, R. Choy, C. Nurses are critical links in maintaining a cutting-edge health care system. Nursing continues to be an indispensable service to the American public.


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While many may think of a nurse as someone who takes care of hospitalized patients, nurses also fill a wide variety of positions in health care in many varied settings, working both collaboratively and independently with other health care professionals. For example, most Americans are familiar with home care nurses who provide a plethora of nursing and health care services to patients in their homes.


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School nurses have a long history of providing health services to school children from kindergarten through high school. Nurses play a major role in delivering care to those residing in long-term-care facilities such as nursing homes. Workers with job-related health concerns often seek out nurses employed by business and industry. Many people visit a nurse practitioner as their primary caregiver. Expectant mothers often prefer nurse midwives as their health care providers during pregnancy and childbirth.

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And each day, in operating rooms across the country, nurse anesthetists insure that patients undergoing surgery receive safe anesthesia care. Today, schools of nursing compete for the brightest applicants, and nursing is highly regarded as an excellent career choice for both women and men. Florence Nightingale Most people think of the nursing profession as beginning with the work of Florence Nightingale, an upper class British woman who captured the public imagination when she led a group of female nurses to the Crimea in October of to deliver nursing service to British soldiers.

Upon her return to England, Nightingale successfully established nurse education programs in a number of British hospitals. The Philadelphia Almshouse, Throughout history most sick care took place in the home and was the responsibility of family, friends, and neighbors with knowledge of healing practices. In the United States, family-centered sickness care remained traditional until the nineteenth century. Sick care delivered by other than family and close acquaintances was generally limited to epidemics and plagues that periodically swept through towns and cities. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, urbanization and industrialization changed the way in which—and in many cases the place in which—sick individuals received care.

Hospitals began to proliferate to serve those who were without the resources to provide their own care, and as hospitals increased in numbers so did the demand for caregivers who would be able to deliver thoughtful care to the patients in them.

Early nineteenth-century hospitals were built mainly in more populated sections of the country, generally in large cities. Nursing care in these institutions differed enormously.

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In hospitals operated by religious nursing orders, patients received high quality care. But, in other institutions, nursing care was more variable, ranging from good in some hospitals, to haphazard and poor in others. Click on the image to read a pdf of the full text. An early nineteenth-century program, the Nurse Society of Philadelphia also referred to as the Nurse Charity of Philadelphia trained women in caring for mothers during childbirth and postpartum period.

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American Nursing: An Introduction to the Past

Its founder, Dr. This publication, which each Nurse Society nurse received, represents an early example of a nursing practice text. Between and the Nurse Society employed about fifty nurses, establishing an early practice of engaging nurses for care of patients in the home.

The outbreak of the Civil War created an immediate need for capable nurses to care for the enormous number of sick and wounded. About 20, women and men served as nurses in both the North and the South. The commendable service rendered by Civil War nurses provided a rationale for future experiments in setting up training programs for nursing.

Similar courses, such as that offered by the New England Hospital for Women and Children were begun in other locales. Philadelphia Hospital School of Nursing, first graduating class, Chief Nurse Alice Fisher is fourth from the right, second row from the bottom. The year was a watershed year in American professional nursing history. These three programs, all based on ideas advanced by Florence Nightingale, are generally acknowledged to be the forerunners of organized, professional nurse education in the United States.

By , somewhere between to schools of nursing were in operation in the country.

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These programs followed a fairly typical pattern. The school was either affiliated with or owned by a hospital that provided the students with the clinical experience considered necessary for the education of a nurse. Students received two to three years of training. Backer, C. Sweeney, J. In Jukes, M. In Welshman, J. Nurses and people with learning disability', British Journal of Learning Disabilities , 28, pp.

In Brigham, L.