Nursing in the years 1800 – 1829

  • 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!

Nursing in the 1800s: A timeline and job description

Some other sites I noted


Nursing During the 17th & 18th Centuries

Nursing during the 17th & 18th centuries

During my reading this week I learned that in the early 17th century an exceedingly increased need for nurses had begun due to many monasteries and churches closing causing the hospitals within to come to a stop. This was mostly due to the protestant reformation causing nursing as a whole to diminish. Although nurses were few in number, those who did continue to practice nursing started to develop new services and cultivated the act of offering care to those within their estate. Due to the high need for care, these nurses often had to perform duties outside their scope of practice. These practices put a lot of stress on the practice of nursing and helped define our roles vs the role of a physician.

By the 18th century, the industrial revolution had begun causing an increased amount of people to migrate to large cities and live within close proximity to each other. These close living conditions brought a whole new spread of illnesses and plagues causing an even greater need for nurses and healthcare. Science was also beginning to improve and take shape allowing many discoveries to be made. With new discoveries brought about many new changes and during this time of change is when the role of the nurse began to be acknowledged as a profession and the very first schools of nursing were beginning to be established.

It’s amazing to see how far modern medicine has come. It makes me realized that in the early 17th and 18th centuries, they basically were just beginning and had no knowledge about anything. At this time there were millions of discoveries to be made and they were just touching the surface. It amazes me to see how far we have come and how much more we have discovered. We have taken these very first, yet very important discoveries and expanded them tenfold with our technology and gained insight! Again, learning about our nursing history makes me more than grateful to live in a time where we have some much knowledge and technology. It also makes me very grateful for how founding fathers of medicine and nursing!

Nursing in 1600 A.D.

Nursing in 1600 A.D.,

This Chapter was very interesting. I learned that the first job in nursing was given mostly to men. These men were considered priests/monks, medicine men, tribesmen, etc. Men were primarily the caregivers but women were allowed to assist the men and also to be wet nurses for infants, but were not allowed to be the main caregiver. If a women would practiced palliative care, they would be condemned for doing so. There was a significant separation of class in which the wealthy would pay these medicine men to come directly to their homes to care for them when they fell ill and the poor/homeless would be sent to hospitals located nearby churches to be cared for. Hospitals got a reputation for “death” in which a person would be sent to a hospital to die because most people would die at this time due to lack of knowledge and technology. Due to the lack of technology and knowledge, most nursing practices consisted of only palliative care and were passed down from generation to generation, learned from observation and trial & error.

Going forward in my career, I will try to appreciate all the technology, knowledge, and resources I have today. Thanks to the pioneers of nursing I have so much. It is extremely interesting to see the conditions and roles played throughout nursing history and how things have changed and come so far sense then.  I am so grateful to be a nurse today and not in the early 1600s!

Nursing Across the Ages First Post

Hi Team! My name is Torina Dredge!

After taking a three year break to start a family and get some work experience as an RN, I have recently returned to school to finish my BSN. I am currently taking NURS 490R Nursing Across the Ages which I am excited to learn about the history of nursing and where it is headed. I am starting this blog because it is required for NURS 490R.  I am a little nervous about taking this course in the summer due to having more distractions but looking at the material, it seems straight forward and clear. I also like the fact that there is no required text.  I look forward to expanding my knowledge and I hope this class will further my appreciation for nursing.