Are you a history buff? Do you enjoy hearing how the past shaped the future? How things came to fruition in order to set the tone for how things are today? Then you will enjoy this little history lesson on the greatest profession in the world! 

Now let me set the stage.....

The date is March 28, 1854. War has been declared on Russia by Britain and France in an effort to reduce Russia's expansion into Europe. Death is enormous! Over 900,000 lives lost as soldiers were exposed to horrible situations. The sad part of this history lesson is not the fact of death, rather the reason for death. The conditions the soldiers faced were horrible, causing the majority of these soldiers to die from disease. Records vary, however the war lasted roughly 3 years. Now back up to May 12, 1820. Why is this date important? This is the day that the English statistician, social reformer, and the founder of nursing was born. Enter Florence Nightingale. 

Nursing is believed to have existed as early as 300 A.D. Roman hospitals were constructed in every town of the empire. It is during this time that the "nurse" emerged, assisting doctors in various medical treatments. Thru the centuries, nurses were supplied throughout the world, mainly by the Catholic church. With European rulings came the expansion of nursing. Patient care and expectations of the nurse were in place since the 10th century! 

Now fast forward to 1850. Florence Nightingale begins her nursing training at St. Vincent de Paul in Alexandria Egypt (Wikipedia) 

After being declared a nurse in 1851, Nightingale is quickly appointed as nursing superintendent of the English General Hospitals. Nightingale and a team of 38 nurses arrive on the war grounds in Turkey to assist with care of the wounded.

Now back to the beginning of the story. The Crimean war is underway, death falls upon the injured due to disease and horrible conditions of the front line hospitals. Nightingale arrived with her ideas and scientific principles of healthy lifestyles. The British government needed help in reducing their loss. Nightingale and her team immediately entered and improved the conditions of the hospitals. Basic sanitation measures and food preparation brought immediate results for the wounded. Infectious diseases dwindled as nursing care, sanitation, and health were brought to the battlefield. 

Today, the basic practices of Florence Nightingale are alive and well. Sanitation measures are prominent. Nurses bathe, clean, maintain sterile fields. Nurses practice hand washing multiple times a day. Nurses use science to continue to look for ways to reduce infection, disease, and the health of the person. These basic foundations are what modern nursing is today. 

Photo Compliments of: Britannica 

In 1860, First Nursing School is opens in London! This paved the way for nursing school across the world. As Florence Nightingale paved the way for modern nursing, others notable people have contributed to the history of nursing. In fact, so many nursing theorists and pioneers  have brought different angles, structures,  and views of nursing along the way. From Clarissa Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, to Imogene King in the 1970's to Patricia Benner in the 1980's.  

Read the Time Line of the Development of Nursing Theory!

Now is your turn to be  apart of nursing history. What concepts, theories, and changes will you bring to this great discipline?  We continue to learn from our past to improve our future. We look to science to help provide the answers, while using our "gut" and heart to improve humanity. Nursing is a combination of science and caring. Not only are we caregivers at the bedside, we have evolved into the boardroom. We have a voice to shape the direction of healthcare by pointing out efficiency's. 

The modern nurse has grown since 1850, however we respect and remember our roots. We allow history to shape us as we strive to tweak the next initiative, even if it means improving 1 life out of a million. We aim to please. We aim to fix! 

We are Nurses, the greatest profession in the world