Medical Nursing

Nurses play an important part in hospital births and are typically the healthcare professionals who will take care of you during most of your labor. In an uncomplicated birth, the nurse will call an obstetrician when you're close to delivering and he or she will only arrive to deliver the baby.

History of Nursing

Organized nursing like what we have today didn't start until the 17th century. In 1633, the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul began serving the poor in their homes. The Daughters were a group of Catholic woman who took private annual vows to serve the less fortunate through hands on care and spiritual acts of mercy. Much of early nursing, like caring for the wounded in the battlefields of Sedan and Arras in France, were done by the Sisters of Charity.

In 1645, Jeanne Mance, a female French settler in New France who was not a member of the Sisters of Charity, established North America's first hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Florence Nightingale -- the woman who is said to have been the pioneer of modern nursing and who wrote a book called Notes on Nursing in 1860 -- starts her formal training in 1850 at the Institute of St. Vincent de Paul at Alexandria in Egypt. In 1853 she visits the Daughters of Charity to learn their methods and the following year she set out to the battlefields of the Crimean War to take care of the wounded along with 38 volunteer nurses.

In 1857 a woman named Ellen Ranyard pioneers the first district nursing program in London, England. Humanitarian and philanthropist Sally Louisa Tompkins opens the first hospital for confederate soldiers in 1861. She later became an officer in the army, the only woman in the Civil War to receive that honor.

In 1910 Florence Nightingale dies after having influenced many women to enter the nursing profession and start many organizations like the American Red Cross Nursing Service (1909), the United States Navy Nurse Corps (1908) and the International Council of Nurses (1899).

By 1923 the focus of nursing changed with the founding of the Yale School of Nursing in the US. The curriculum was based on an education plan, including teaching medical terminology and abbreviations related to nursing, instead of hospital service needs that had been taught up until then.

In 2004 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that all nurses seeking to be credentialed as professional practitioners earn of Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Nursing Training

Individuals who want to work as nurses in any field must first go to medical school for nursing receiving a combination of theoretical and practical training on various levels. It's possible to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, a Master of Science in Nursing Degree and, most recently, a Doctorate in Nursing degree.

The earliest nursing schools offered a Diploma in Nursing. This type of diploma focused on entry-level nursing skills and was offered by hospitals. It was not an actual academic degree and is no longer an available option for nursing education.

Obstetric Nursing

Obstetric nursing is the profession of nursing with a specialty in taking care of pregnant and laboring women as well as newborns. Specialization in labor and delivery or peri-natal is possible. These nurses work often work with midwives and obstetricians. Some obstetric nurses take further training and become midwives.

Task an obstetrics nurse performs include cardiac monitoring, health assessments, vascular monitoring, post-operative surgical care and stress test evaluations. They help patients experiencing pregnancy complications and assist with prenatal care and testing in general. All obstetrical nurses receive special training in electronic fetal monitoring and administering medication with a continuous intravenous drip.


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