History of Nursing – The Roots of Nurse Care
While nursing as a duty has always existed, it is only during the recent years that it has developed into a specialized profession. As a profession, Nursing is the distinctive means of continuous caring for the sick, infirm or injured individuals. The rich history of nursing has made these tasks reach its most achievable form of excellence.
The history of nursing started when missionary nuns and military servicemen provided nursing services during the pre-modern times. Earlier during the ancient times, medical wisdom was yet associated with good or evil spirits. The practice only gained its scientific and psychological or rational ground during the Christian era when certain women in the church undertook nursing duties armed with adequate experience teaching them valuable skills, especially in the use of herbs and drugs, and their services became so valuable as it became extended to patients in their homes.
These women had no real or formal training whatsoever as determined by today’s standards, yet their specialization is considered exceptional with some of them even gaining fame as the physicians of their era. In the 17th century even, St. Vincent de Paul began to encourage women nurses to undertake some form of training for their work, however it was not until 1846 when a real hospital training school for nurses finally became established first in Kaiserwerth, Germany. Nonetheless, what first started as a personal or spiritual motivation became an apparent need for a special field for caring to be firmly established in the history of health care, and until the religious, social and personal roots of nursing remain evident now in the modern times.
The history of nursing culminated with the founding of Modern Nursing by Florence Nightingale flourishing as a response to the Crimean War, and as with any other wars that came before and after. After her training in Germany, Florence Nightingale was also able to establish her own St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first school designed primarily to train nurses based on a curriculum apart from providing practical nursing service for the hospital.
On the other hand the history of nursing is also in progress in New Zealand. The government of New Zealand regulated their nurses nationally for the very first time. The Nurses Registration Act was adopted on September 12, 1901 with Miss Ellen Dougherty as the very first nurse to be registered to perform the nursing profession officially.
Nursing subsequently became one of the most important professions open to women. All until the beginnings of the late 20th century saw a fluctuation in the further fulfillment and development of the history of nursing with the growing nursing shortages in US as well as in other developed nations.