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The Development of Nursing as a Science

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The Development of Nursing as a Science

Vicki Sumagpang

The Development of Nursing as a Science

Nursing slowly evolved over the years stemming as far back as the 5th century when Hippocrates known as the "father of modern medicine" studied health care ("History of nursing": para 1). Prior to 1854, prostitutes, drunks, and prisoners were known to provide care to the ill. Nursing was not taken seriously until 1854 when Florence Nightingale was instrumental at turning nursing into a respectable profession("History of nursing": para 1) . Historical events have helped shape what nursing has become today. The aim of nursing is to provide quality of life using evidence-based practice to populations, communities, families, and individuals from birth until death. According to the International Council of Nurses, "the key nursing roles are advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education." Nursing practice has changed over the years to be not only a profession but also a science with the use of theories, research, and evidence-based practice("Nursing": pg, 5, para 2).

In 1854, Florence Nightingale, also known as the "lady of the lamp" became the pioneer to modern day nursing. While working in the Crimean War, Florence noted the condition of the environment and focused on the general principles of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quietness, and a proper diet. She laid the foundation in 1860 with her principles "Notes on Nursing: What it is and is not" and the establishment of the Nightingale Training School ("Timeline of nursing": pg 2 para 3). She became the first nurse to write a theory based on the environment. Her theory was to manipulate the environment so a person's body could repair and restore to proper health. From 1841 until 1856, Dorothea Dix was also instrumental in crusading for the mentally ill. She began her work because of the inhumane treatment and conditions the mentally ill were experiencing. Many years after the Crimean War, the Civil War (1861- 1865) was affecting the growth of nursing in the United States. The poor environmental conditions surrounding the large number of injured within the United States stimulated the need for nurses. A common thread in the development of nursing as a profession was the poor environmental conditions that Florence Nightingale based her theory on.

As the years progressed, the first nursing school in the United States opened at Bellevue Hospital in New York. The teaching was based on Florence Nightingale's environmental theory. In 1873, Linda Richards was the first professionally trained nurse to graduate in America. Mary Eliza Mahoney followed in 1870 as the first black professionally trained nurse to graduate in the United States. By the end of the 1800s, nursing journals and drug books were published, nursing associations were formed, and students had to prove competencies to receive qualifications. These events were shaping the future of nursing.

The early 1900s showed the beginning of nursing licensure and regulations. In 1901, New Zealand became the first nation to adopt the Nurses Registration Act. On February 10, 1901, Ellen Dougherty became the first registered nurse in the world. In 1903, North Carolina became the first state in America to pass nursing licensure. In 1922, Sigma Theta Tau International

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