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How Does Knowledge of the Foundations and History of Nursing Provide a Context in Which to Understand Current Practice? Essay

Without an understanding of basic nursing there is no room for improvement. “By understanding the history and foundation of nursing nurses can develop a sense of professional identity and build a better future for the profession and the people they serve” (, 2013). We also have a better appreciation for the nursing profession and what it has evolved into today. Three trends that were demonstrated by the interactive timeline were: 1.Nursing was for the undesirables. “Ill individuals were taken care of by “sinners, saints, or mothers” “(, 2013). Florence Nightingale was born in a wealthy English family and had educational opportunities; however she would still often find herself wanting to help the poor. Soon after completion of nursing school she travelled to the Crimea War. There she suggested there were “five essential components to an optimal healing environment; pure air, pure water, efficient drainage, cleanliness and light” (Kelly, 2012, p. 2397). With those changes alone the mortality rate decreased and the meaning of nursing was forever changed into what we know today. 2.Nursing was predominately for males.

Like every profession in the past, men would work while women stayed at home. During war men would act like nurses by treating injured soldiers and attempting to save others lives. Florence Nightingale once again changed nursing from the past to what we know today by walking on the battle fields rendering aid to those who were wounded. 3.The birth of the American Nurses Association. The American Nurse Association (ANA) was founded in 1896. The ANA has enabled nurses to achieve higher education and given them more opportunities by providing routes to become credentialed in certain specialties and “published a vast collection of material on nursing practice and the profession” (, 2013). These trends have influenced me by making me thankful to all who have made nursing what it has become. Today’s nurse has evolved from a profession of the “undesirable” to the “honorable”, changed from a profession that was predominately male to now include females and lastly grown from only an individual’s perspective to having a huge voice within a major organization (ANA). The nursing profession has come a long way and there is always room for improvement but without the knowledge of foundations and history it wouldn’t be where it is today.

References Kelly, J. (2012). Editorial: What has Florence Nightingale ever done for clinical nurses?. Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 21(17/18), 2397-2398. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03455.x

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