Nursing in the years 1800-1829
I learned a lot this week. I learned that during this time nursing was really beginning to take shape and be viewed more as a career than just as volunteer work. In the 1810s, nursing programs of caring for the sick at home were being established, along with nursing schools and general hospitals. At this same time the very first U.S psychiatric hospital opened in Philadelphia. It was still uncommon for woman to have successful careers and work in the workforce but nursing was starting to be viewed as a woman’s job. Not because it was of low importance but because woman are natural nurtures and tend to be more compassionate so men and woman preferred nursing to be enrolled by women.
As nursing became a more established job, along came structured duties. Some of the duties of a nurse at this time were, 1. daily sweep and mop floors of ward and dust the patient’s furniture and window sills. 2. Maintain an even temperature of ward by hauling coal and keeping a fire. 3. Keep wards lite by kerosene lamps to properly assess patient and clean chimneys and trim wicks. 4. Keep a nurse’s note of good taste for aiding in physician’s work. 5. Work from 7a.m. until 8 p.m. except a two hour break on the Sabbath from noon until 2pm. 6. If you are a graduate nurse in good standing with your instructor then you get one night off a week for courting purposes and two nights off if you go to church regularly. 7. Each nurse should set aside half income for when they are old so they are not a burden. 8. If a nurse smokes, uses liquor, gets hair done at beauty shop, or goes to frequent dance halls, this may give reason to suspect worth and integrity. 9. A nurse who works and serves faithfully for a total of five years will be given a five cent hourly raise. This was so interesting and I seemed like a really hard days work.
Our nursing duties today have really evolved into more technical and medical duties instead of labor intensive thanks to technology. I still feel that putting basic care into your nursing practice like keeping you patients comfortable by a clean warm room & good hygiene are important and really make the biggest difference.
I also learned a little bit about the very begging of Florence Nightingales life. She was born in May 1820 in Florence Italy and was named after the city. Her parents were very wealthy high class British and very well educated. Florence Nightingale was taught by her parents in many subjects such as Greek, Latin, Mathematics, natural science, ancient and modern literature, German, french, and Italian. She was presumed to live a wealthy life assumed by women of the upper class but she thought her purpose in life was to care for the humanity of others. Her parents were very disappointed at first but grew to respect her decision to care for the sick.
I hope to never take my career choice of nursing for granted. At times I forget how cool it is to be a nurse and how hard I worked to get to where I am now. Before I was a nurse, I would look up to nurses so much and was so honored once I became one myself. Now it has been a few years and I forget how awesome of a career it really is. Nurse has come a long way from Florence Nightingales time. Then nursing was considered more a lower class job and a job only suitable for woman. Today it is a highly honored job thanks to all of the hard work and dedication from our pioneering nurses. I hope to never forget what an honor it is to be a nurse and not to take for granted the hard work it took to get there!
Some other sites I noted