Nursing history impacts
todays nursing practice every day in almost in a variety of different ways.
Florence Nightingale’s work on sanitation, patient
safety, and nursing education, Linda Richards’s innovations with patient
medical records, Lillian Wald’s contributions to public health nursing (now
known as the Red Cross), and Isabel
Hampton Robb’s passion for what is now known as the American Nurses Association
have all influenced today’s nursing practice in enormous ways.
Historical Perspective Paper
The five historical events or
role models related to nursing that I will discuss in this paper are Florence Nightingale, Linda Richards, Lillian Wald, Clara
Barton and then finally the formation of the Association of American
Nurses. I will also analyze the history of nursing and how it impacts today’s
nursing practice, reflecting Mount Mercy University’s mission.
It would be
difficult to write a paper on the history of nursing and not include Florence
Nightingale’s seminal work in the Crimean War. “Her groundbreaking statistical
analyses connected poor sanitation with cholera and dysentery. She volunteered
during the Crimean War in 1853 and traveled the battlefield hospitals and night
carrying her lamp; thus, she was known as the “lady with the lamp”” (Potter,
Perry, Stockert, & Hall, 2015, p. 3). To say that Florence Nightingale had
a positive influence on the nursing profession would be an understatement.
“Florence Nightingale’s work, from the Crimean War to the establishment of
formal nursing education programs, was a catapult for the reorganization and
advancement of professional nursing” (Cherry & Jacob, 2014, p. 8).
Another woman I greatly admire who had a positive and
significant contribution to nursing was Linda Richards. She created the first
patient medical records system for patients in the hospital and also created
multiple training programs for people to become educated as nursing
professionals. Her innovations and positive influence on the nursing profession can still be
seen today every time we open a patient’s chart.
Wald is another role model and she had a huge positive influence on the nursing
profession. “Lillian Wald, a pioneer in public health nursing, is best known
for the development and establishment of a viable practice for public health
nurses in the twentieth century. The main location for this practice was the
Henry Street Settlement House, located in the Lower East Side of New York City.
Its purpose was to provide well-baby care, health education, disease
prevention, and treatment of patients with minor illnesses” (Cherry &
Jacob, 2014, p. 11). Some of the examples of her positive influence in the
nursing profession are the roles of public health nurses and occupational nurses
in modern society.
Clara Barton’s service during
and following the Civil War is what makes her another role model that had a
positive influence on the nursing profession. “Clara Barton served on the front
line during the Civil War and operated a war relief program to provide supplies
to the battlefields and hospitals. Barton also set up a postwar service to find
missing soldiers and is credited with founding the American Red Cross” (Cherry
& Jacob, 2014, p. 10). Today there are thousands of Red Cross nurses
following in Clara Barton’s footsteps helping people after disasters and educating
the patient population. The world of nursing would be a very different place
had Clara Barton not been such a positive influence on wartime and crisis
Isabel Hampton Robb.
The last role model and
historical event was the formation of the American Nurses Association (ANA.)
“Isabel Hampton Robb helped found the Nurses’ Associated Alumnae of the United
States and Canada in 1896. This organization became the ANA in 1911” (Potter,
Perry, Stockert, & Hall, 2015, p. 2). This had a positive influence on the
nursing profession by constantly striving to improve the nursing profession and
gaining recognition of nursing as a respected profession and essential partner
in every aspect of wellness and health care.
The history of nursing has been filled with struggles and
accomplishments. The brave men and women who have dared to become nurses have
faced many challenges, but they have saved countless lives and changed the face
of healthcare forever. “Throughout the pages of recorded history, nursing has
been integrated into every facet of life. A legacy of human caring was
initiated when, according to the book of Exodus, two midwives, Shiphrah and
Puah, rescued the baby Moses and hid him to save his life. This legacy of
caring has progressed throughout the years, responding to physiologic, social,
environmental, and physiologic needs of society” (Cherry & Jacob, 2014, p.
In conclusion, nursing history impacts current nursing
practice in every way and it is important to recognize the individuals who
transformed nursing into the respected and influential profession that it is
today. Every time nurses wash their hands to prevent the spread of disease or
read a patient’s medical record it is because of Florence Nightingale and Linda Richards. Anytime people seek
help from public health nurses or occupational nurses it’s because of Clara
Barton’s sacrifices and determination. The five historical events or role
models related to nursing that were discussed in this paper were Florence
Nightingale, Linda Richards, Lillian Wald, Clara Barton and then finally the
formation of the Association of American Nurses.
The history of nursing and how it impacts today’s nursing practice were