"...look into all things with a searching eye” - Baha'u'llah (Prophet Founder of the Baha'i Faith)


Nov 2, 2012


In earlier centuries, nursing care was usually provided by volunteers who had little or no training—most commonly men and women of various religious orders. During the Crusades, for example, some military orders of knights also provided nursing care, most notably the Knights Hospitalers. Toward the end of the 18th century nursing was considered an unsuitable occupation for “proper” young women, undoubtedly due to the fact that hospitals in those days were dirty and pestilent places where patients usually died. As a result, those who provided nursing care were commonly persons who had been imprisoned for drunkenness or who could not find work elsewhere.

Modern nursing began in the mid-19th century with the advent of the Nightingale training schools for nurses. Florence Nightingale established the foundations of modern nursing with her treatment of the sick and injured during the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856. Once back in London after the war, she founded the Nightingale School and Home for Nurses using money donated in tribute to her services. The school marked the beginning of professional education in the nursing field. Her book Notes on Nursing became the first definitive textbook for the field.

In the United States, the Spanish-American War and, later, World War I established the need for more nurses in both military and civilian life. As a result, nursing schools increased their enrollments, and several new programs were developed. In 1920 a study funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and known as the Goldmark Report recommended that schools of nursing be independent of hospitals and that students no longer be exploited as cheap labor. Following the publication of this report, several university schools of nursing were opened. During the depression of the 1930s, many nurses were unemployed, and the number of schools declined. World War II, however, brought about another increased demand for nurses. The Cadet Nurse Corps, established in 1943, subsidized nursing education for thousands of young people who agreed to engage in nursing for the duration of the war. Since the end of World War II, technological advances in medicine and health have required nurses to become knowledgeable about sophisticated equipment, to learn about an increasing number of medications, and to design nursing care appropriate for the health care delivery system during a period of rapid change. (Encarta Encyclopedia)