History of Nursing

The word Nurse or Nursing means “to nourish”. Modern Nursing began in Northern Europe in the Nineteenth Century and the first training school of nursing began in 1836 in Germany. Florence Nightingale was from an affluent British family and at that time during the Victorian era when education for women was practically unheard of Florence’s father thought that it was important for his children to have an education. She decided to dedicate her life to the sick and injured and attended the training school in Germany. During the Crimean war, Florence and 38 other nurses were pressed into service to counter the casualty of British soldiers. She was appalled by the sanitary conditions in the British military. She deduced a method of statistical analysis which linked the unsanitary conditions with higher death rates. Due to her constant efforts to improve the sanitary conditions the mortality rates fell drastically which was a remarkable achievement.

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She was also known as lady with the lamp because she always carried a lamp in her hand at night which allowed her to work late when tending to the soldiers and maintaining medical records for the hospital. Her work in the Crimean war earned her lot of popularity after her return to London and she also received Royal recognition when Queen Victoria bestowed the Royal Red cross on her and she was also the first woman to receive the Order of merit. She was also able to start a school of nursing in London in 1859 from the generous donations she received towards her Nightingale fund. Despite its advances in Europe, nursing was still developing in USA and came to the forefront during the civil war. The only nurses at this time were in the religious order until the government started the army nursing services. The first professional nursing school began in New York City in 1861. Some of the famous nurses of that time from the United States were Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton and Cornelia Hancock.

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