Nursing Throughout History

1961 Nurse Stamp

There’s so much to learn about nursing throughout history!

We usually reserve this space for topics specifically related to travel nursing, from how travel nurse staffing saves lives to how travel nursing can improve your career.

But today we’re going to stretch that to traveling through time, as we check out Penn Nursing Science’s resources on nursing throughout history at their Nursing, History, and Healthcare website.

The site aims to offer historical background on issues and topics related to the nursing profession. Aimed at providers, researchers, consumers, educators, and policymakers, the site “addresses a wide range of topics critical to comprehending and broadening our understanding of health care and nursing concerns, including the role of professional nurses, nurse shortages, workplace problems, and public health issues.”

There is tons of information about education, home care, workforce, issues, institutions, and more.

My favorite is a really cool History of Nursing Timeline running from 1700-2000. The timeline begins with nursing and healthcare in the colonial period, when an almshouse opened in Philadelphia that would later become Philadelphia General Hospital.

Here are just a few more of the many highlights:

1872: School for Nurses with one-year curriculum offered at New England Hospital for Women and Children

1879: The first professional African American nurse graduates from New England Hospital and Training School for Women and Children

1885: Clara S. Weeks Shaw publishes the first textbook by a nurse, A Textbook of Nursing

1893: At the Chicago World Colombian Exposition nurses convene to form the first national professional association for nurse.

1900: American Journal of Nursing is first published.

1911: The Associated Alumna of the United States is rechristened the American Nurses Association.

1918: Army School of Nursing is established.

1938: The ANA publishes Incomes, Salaries, and Employment Conditions of Nurses.  

1952: First two-year associate nursing degree program is offered.

1964: Nurse Training Act passes.

1969: American Association of Colleges of Nurses forms.

1992: The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations adds at-large nursing seat to its Board, ceasing nearly three decades of ANA lobbying efforts.

1999: The nation’s first state law mandating specific nurse-to-patient ratios is signed.

That’s just a sample — I left a lot of really cool stuff out!

Click here to check out Penn Nursing Science’s wealth of information on nursing throughout history

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