Historical Development of Nursing Timeline: NUR 513 Week 2

Historical Development of Nursing Timeline: NUR 513 Week 2

Historical Development of Nursing Timeline: NUR 513 Week 2 Sample Solution

Historical Development of Nursing

In the world history, the development of nursing is regarded as the most fantastic journey mainly because of its high dependence on talented independent women, rather than a patriarchal society. Much of the evolution that took place in the ancient periods is lost to us, but during the Christian era, where Jesus Christ propagated the philosophies of love and mercy, there was significant growth in the community works (Donahue 80). Christian women came together in groups to volunteer and uplift the lives of the depraved members of the society thereafter (Donahue 81).

The nineteenth century saw a lot of incidents which turned out to be turning points in this process of development. There were many research studies that went behind identifying the root and spread of communicable diseases. It is also in this period that anesthesia was invented and widely used, but the general masses continue to be in a situation where best of the medical treatment were unavailable. Reform activities were the need of the hour especially when sanitation issues troubled larger parts of Europe and the United States. This was the time when British nurse Florence Nightingale entered the nursing field. She would go on to change the course of the profession and the way the medicines are prescribed.   Miss Nightingale was serving along with a group of women, taking care of the soldiers in Scutari, Turkey during the Crimean war between England and France in 1854. The conditions were very disturbing for her and immediately she brought into effect hygienic nursing setup and sanitation facilities. Later, Nightingale wrote a series of books listing the events that lead to all these during the civilian and military nursing camps. Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not (1860), one of her books is still widely respected as a manual in nursing practices. The credit for the development of hierarchical line of command and functionality among nurses also goes to Florence Nightingale. She grouped nurses as special nurses (those with specialized training in certain areas) and superintendents, chosen from among the lot based solely on their exceptional administrative talent (Moiden 20).

This model of Nightingale was a precedent to numerous other frameworks set up by many theorists who took the same path as her. A clear definition and description for nursing was established by Virginia Henderson, and a good recognition and understanding of the selfless profession came into effect. Hildegard Peplau brought out the close linkage between nursing and counseling, emphasizing on the idea that nurses were obliged to serve the patients unlike the simple meaningless conversations of strangers. Complete and fast healing is made possible by merging counseling with nursing. The ultimate objective of counseling is to keep the patient mentally free from stress which may turn out to be hurdles in the recovery stage. This can be better put in practice by the nurses who are in close relationship with the patient.

Dorothea Orem is credited for her self-care theory which throws importance on the role of the patient in the nursing care process. The nurse is a guide who takes the patient along the road to recovery where the patient’s involvement is key to complete recovery. She accepted the significance of nurses’ role in patient recuperation but did not place full impetus on the nurses. There has to be teamwork between the patient and nurse. When put in a stressful scenario, a person cannot forfeit all duties for the sake of own well-being. According to Orem, nurses aid in sustaining and improving the quality of life, but can only be successful with the cooperation of the patients. “The need to be informed and to be proactive in the treatment for the patient, irrespective of the age is greeted by the nurses.” (Orem’s Self-Care model).

Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model is defined as “the procedure and results wherein the cognition and emotionally responsive individual makes use of awareness and decision making to bring together human and environment” (Nurse Theorist Page). Roy states that the bonding between the environment and nursing depends to a great extent on the nurse’s level of dedication towards improving the patient’s health above specified levels. Martha E. Rogers developed a model based on complete consciousness with her reasoning of Unitary human beings theory (the union of all caring-healing practices, SUHB). The major belief of this model is on the presence of aspects of energy transfer that ought to be looked into. (Elsevier Mosby, 26, p. 245-258. The concept of nursing and caring reached further depth with the model of Jean Watson, PhD, RN, FAAN. Her model aims at establishing an environment suitable for the unification of biomedical and human sciences for improvement in healing process.

The hospitals grew much bigger, infrastructure-wise in the twentieth century. People from all classes of the society came to the hospitals and availed care for diseases, childbirth and surgery (Donahue 449). There was a paradigm shift in the way hospitals were operated. They changed from institutions of charitable services to commercial money making enterprises. This also led to the evolution of nursing into a purely scientific profession today (Doanhue 459). Primary care nursing were introduced in the United States in 1966 to better handle excessive workloads, by enabling bed side nurses to make certain operational decisions (Moiden 20). In the 1990s the cost of health care reached greater heights and managed care came into existence affecting nursing profession. There was far lesser centralization and more flexibility in the structure (Moiden 20). The hierarchy fell and the command chain was broken. Today nurses are actively involved in the process of the patient’s healing and work in close harmony with the doctors.

More men are opting for the post of nurses which was earlier seen as a women’s job. However the dedication and commitment to duty and service of people has remained unaltered over the centuries despite all the aforementioned changes.  Irrespective of the gender, positions are RNs, LPNs or specialized in hospice, pediatric, geriatric, or psychiatric care, all the qualified nurses are expected to handle budget cuts and rapidly changing technology professionally. The care they extend to the patients ought to be filled with compassion and relentlessness. With the rising life expectancy, the need for caregivers and nurses are on the rise. It is believed that with changing needs, nursing would exert a greater circle of influence in the medical community.



Donahue, M. Patricia.  Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History.  St. Louis, MO: Mosby,

2010, 1-23, 69-97, 443-471.

Martha Raile Alligood and Ann Marriner-Tomey  Nursing Theory Utilization and Application St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier- Mosby 2006

Nursing Theories Nursing Theorists             Currentnursing.com/nursing theory/nursing_theorists.htm retrieved on February 4, 2011

Orem’s Definition of Nursing.  Nursing is the provision of selfcare which is therapeutic in Orem’s Selfcare Requisites (also called Selfcare Needs)
faculty.ucc.edu/nursing-gervase/Orem%5B1%5D.pp retrieved on February 4, 2011

Moiden, Nadeem.  “Evolution of Leadership in Nursing.”  Nursing Management – UK 9(7) (2002): 20-25.