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Over The Years Nursing Has Evolved History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Despite of all the portrayal from the mass media or the public perception, the true definition of nursing can only assist in articulating the key concept into words, considering how sophisticated the definition of nursing can be hardly dealt or overcome with stereotypes and misunderstandings of nursing that even exist post-modernity. Post-modernity explained reality through observation, perception and experience as human beings lived within and encounter the world (Lawler.J and Newman.S, Sydney Nursing School, 2011). Presently, there are more and more specialised nurses such as the clinicians, researchers and a nurse educator who advanced themselves to understand and decipher the work and role of nursing from a ambiguous , unverified thoughts to a consistent organised concepts of nursing (Shaw ,1993).

In the past, nurses in the institutions were dominated by females to care for the sick. That was how it was being portrayed and accepted by not just the public but to female nurses ourselves. Before the 4th century, there were no male nurses working in a institutions. They were either discouraged or not accepted by the public eye’s ( Christman, 2001; Sullivan. 2000). Because nursing is seen as a women’s work and insufficient data can prove that man in nursing can generate the same aspects of a female nurse when nursing a patient. Florence Nightingale (1860) also emphasized the role of women as nurses. However, based on Diaconian(1966), he stressed that ‘ there is a place for a masculine character in a predominantly feminine profession.’ (Pg59) . By the mid 20th century , male graduates practically pursued the masculine path of administration, anesthesia, military nursing and highly technological roles ( Wall, 2009). And thus, the participation of male nurses in nursing continue to strive, not many, but at least the perception of male nurses is slowly changing.

During the early civilisation , nurses relied heavily on religious orders to care for the sick and poor. They have no body of knowledge, school of nursing to train nurses or title recognition to verify the competency of a nurse to perform any nursing procedures to the patient. The establishment of an effective nurse was unknown thus resulted in the questionable and degradation of nursing knowledge and professionalism image the public acknowledged. To prevent further ‘traumatisation’ of nursing image, nurses have to be educated and efficient in every aspect. According to Jacobs.S and Jacob.H, ‘nurses themselves must play the leading role in improving their image.’ Nurses should encourage the media to provide a more reliable source of the profession to the society to gain social prestige and at the same time have a more explicit knowledge of what nurses do. There are nursing theories that explains the concept of nursing paradigm which will further explain, describe and predict how nurses function and understand the way it is. The person/client can be an individual, family, or a community. It strives towards the provision of care to the client. According to University of Wisconsin (UW)-Green Bay states that individuals are in collaboration with the nurse who will reinforce the need for self-care. The Lakeview College of nursing also points out that individuals have their own autonomy to make a decision for their own wellness.

The concept of apprenticeship is a means of taking on an individual who will learn the skills and practices that are associated with a given career path. The apprentice is taken under the control of a senior who is well versed in his or her current field over a period of years (Tatum.M, 2011). However, the use of Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition can be very helpful to further explained Benner’s five level of experience such as Novice, advance beginner, competent, proficient and expert. This is a progression from a rule-based problem-solving to a different approach based on past experiences . This will also drive towards clinical knowledge development and career enhancement in clinical nursing( Benner, 1982).

Florence Nightingale, a significant figure in the development of nursing, showed the importance of nursing to the military during the Crimean War. In the Crimean War, there was inadequate care and lack of medical resources for the soldiers in England. Therefore, the secretary of war, Sir Sidney Herbert offered Florence Nightingale a position of female nursing establishment of English General Hospital. As Nightingale took over the appointment, she hand picked 38 females and began to implement changes to provide the battling soldiers humane healthcare. As a result, the mortality rate went up from 42% to 73%. (V. and B. Bullough,1978) Her influence to the military demonstrated proper nursing care significance in a war.  Hence, the armies of Britain, America, France and Canada gave nurses a professional in the management of patient care while mostly were females. Other than influencing the Crimean War, Nightingale also played an influential role in the US Civil War from 1861 to 1865. During the civil war, nurses were given honorable positions in the military. During the wartime, there were other nurses who rose to prominence such as Dorothea Dix, the first superintendent in the Union Army Nurse and Clara Barton who was the founder of the American Red Cross to search for missing soldiers. However, nursing in military was vulnerable in war as World War II suggested. America became involved in the war after the Japanese bombed the Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. As the Japanese advanced to the Philippines, they conducted numerous air strikes. One of the air strikes mission bombed a hospital on 29 March 1942, causing lots of casualties.

The definition of feminism is a compilation of gender equality, establishing and defending equal economic, political status, social rights and unbiased view of a woman. Feminism focuses on mainly women’s issues such as the value of women and standing adamantly for women’s rights . Nursing has always been seen as a woman’s work and thus resulting in the downfall of social status and was paid inadequately or lowly by the particular organization. According to Sullivan, ‘ Women’s work has been denigrated throughout most of the history and continues so today (2002).’ However, Sampselle (1990) mentioned that a nurse who truly view a person holistically in a non-judgmental, caring and accepting perspectives will strive on the uniqueness rather than stereotypical characteristics. Presently, nurses are still trying to make an effort to create a name for themselves, professionally and reputably.

In ancient times, people believed that illness was caused by the sins committed by the sick. All these ill people were usually treated in places of worship such as the churches. In the churches, the sick were took care by the nuns who do not have proper nursing trainings. Experiences taught them valuable skills, especially in the use of drugs and herbs ( Donahue M.P. 1986). In ancient Egypt, some drugs and herbs were used ritually by the priests and medicine men ( Alivihare. A, 1993) Arjuna . During the Greek era, a Greek physician called Hippocrates, introduced the foundation of rational approach to medicine. The Hippocratic Oath founded by him was relevant and still in use today. It was classified into categories such as acute, endemic, chronic and epidemic and use terms such as exacerbation, relapse, resolution, crisis, paroxysm, peak, and convalescence (Garrison, 1966). After sometime, the Muslim-Arab translated the works of the Greeks and Egyptians into Arab. However, in the 14th and 15th century, Black Death devastated across the Middle East and Europe. Western European was believed to more effective in recovering illness than Middle East ( Dols.M.W, 1977). During the Black Death, there was a major shift from traditional thinking into medicine and science. Soon after came the development of human anatomy, circulatory system and the discovery of bacteria and microorganisms. Modern scientific biomedical research began to replace the Westerners traditional herbalism, the Greek four humors and other pre-modern notions and this led to the development of antibiotics and small pox vaccine.

Nurses have been actively involved with technology in patient care for decades even till now. Based on Singapore General Hospital (SGH) annual report (2009) suggests that being technological-driven not just assist the physicians, nurses or other health care workers but also enhance the standards of practice such as preventing medication errors, decreasing mortality rate, improving patient’s care and many more. Marilyn (2008) also states that ‘technology has the potential to help nurses “know the patient.”‘ Developed countries relied heavily on the use of technology and has been improving constantly to meet the expectations of the economy. Nurses have become accustomed to and experienced in using technology adapted from many arenas for the provision of patient care. Henderson (2006) also supports and encourage the use of technology, ‘ care is dominated by the management of technolgy.’ The collision of healthcare and technology has created an industry that now drives both the cost and the standard of healthcare and it has never stop improving.

In conclusion, in order for the continuation and improvement of nursing profession and to gain social prestige from the public. He/ She has to portray the image to the public. The society perceived and get information by the way the other party portrayed themselves. Women have thrived for centuries, involving themselves in a in caring for the family regardless of their status in the society, accepting nursing into a part of their lives. Many factors have influence nursing in many ways, allowing nursing to evolve for the better. Nurses have played a big part in the society and will continue to care for the sick and injured, regardless of stigma, being stereotype as in the current society as ‘high-class maids’.

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