The history of nursing

As one of the oldest professions in history, Nursing continues to play a significant role in the care and treatment of the sick and injured. Even though modern medicine and technological advancements have changed and improved certain practices overtime, the well-being of the patient continues to be the focal point of all nursing care. To show appreciation for this profession, we’ve decided to review the history of nursing and how it’s progressed over the years. 

Ancient and Medieval Origins

The first recorded nursing practices took place during the Roman empire (300 A.D.). During this time, all established hospitals hired individuals whose main responsibility was to support doctors in the care of patients. At that time, these nurses were known as Hypourgoi and were considered the first professional nurses throughout the Byzantine era.

Starting between 500 to 600 C.E, healthcare became the responsibility of the Catholic church in Europe. With a focus on providing healthcare to all, the Catholic church made sure that hospitals had adequate resources and caretakers to do so. This caused a steady increase in the number of nurses needed in hospitals across Europe. 

Florence Nightingale & Modern Nursing

Born May 12, 1820, Florence Nightingale changed the nursing profession forever. While serving as a nurse during the Crimean War in 1854, Nightingale believed that the high mortality rates of injured soldiers could decrease if improved hygiene practices were implemented. By recording the number of injured soldiers, mortality rates, and the diseases they were dying from, her belief was proven. 

By discovering that injured soldiers were dying from infections and diseases that could be prevented through improved hygienic practices, she immediately implemented changes. Nightingale provided a clean environment with clean, efficient medical supplies and made sure that soldiers were fed a healthy diet. Initially, her work decreased the mortality rate from 60% – 42% which eventually reached 2.2%.

The changes she established are the foundation of modern nursing. Her work is the reason why there’s a major emphasis on hygiene, proper nutrition, and clean, working equipment in the nursing practice today.

WWI & Increased Nursing Demand

After the establishment of organizations like Clara Barton’s American Red Cross (1881), the International Council of Nurses (1899), American Nurses Association (1896) of in and the American Red Cross in 1881 by Clara Barton, the demand for nurses didn’t see a dramatic increase until World War I. By the mid-1900s, over 10,000 nurses were trained and providing healthcare to soldiers on the battlefield. After the conclusion of WWI and WWII, nursing remained an in-demand profession. 

Educational & Technological Advancements in Nursing

During the late 20th century, there was a greater emphasis placed on establishing universal higher education for nurses. The first master’s in nursing programs were established around 1950 which gave nurses across the world the ability to advance their careers with the help of new technology and educational practices. In 1951, men were finally allowed to join this in-demand profession.

Today, there are more than 100 national and international professional nursing organizations dedicated to supporting nurses and providing them with opportunities to further their education and provide excellent patient care with the latest technology.

Since its ancient origins, nursing has always been a challenging yet rewarding career. The demand for nurses increases each year. Nursing is a highly adaptable career and continues to be the highly respected profession that we all appreciate. 

Are you a nurse? Did the rich history of nursing inspire you to join the profession? Share your story with us by commenting below or on Instagram by tagging @uniformadvantage or #adayinscrubs. 

You can also shop our wide selection of nursing scrubs at incredible prices!

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