Nurses - Types of Nurses and Nursing History

Nursing History - Not So Nice

Who would believe that in 17th Century Europe, nursing care was provided for by the local men and women of the area who were serving time. Nursing, at that time, was associated with prostitutes and other female criminals who were being punished. Their reputation for drunken behavior and being obnoxious was renowned. During the Crimean War, a British nurse named Florence Nightingale labored to better the conditions for wounded soldiers and through her book, Notes on Nursing, the foundation stone of professional nursing was laid. Her attitude may be well summed up in a quote by the nurse, "I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results." (Florence Nightingale)

America's first professional trained nurse was Linda Richards, who graduated from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston in 1873. The first registered nurse was Ellen Dougherty of New Zealand - the first country to regulate nurses nationally through the adoptions of the Nurses Registration Act on September 12, 1901. North Carolina passed the first nursing licensure law in the US in 1903. Nursing history is really quite young, yet so much has been accomplished by them.

Today's Nursing Profession - You've Come A Long Way, Baby

Today, nursing is a profession that addresses the healthcare needs of individuals, families, and communities, enabling them to attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from birth to death. (Wikipedia) In the modern era of nursing, there has been great development of nursing degrees and journalist work to enhance the knowledge base of the profession. They practice in a wide range of settings, from hospitals and clinics to visiting people in their homes and villages, from caring for them in schools to doing research for pharmaceutical labs. They work in occupational settings, physicians offices, long-term care facilities, camps, cruise ships and in the military. There are many different types of nurses, from registered nurses to practical nurses, from nurse-midwives to nurse-legal consultants.

Divisions of Types of Nursing

Of all the healthcare professions, nursing is the most diverse, seeing nurses practice in a wide variety of settings. However, there are major divisions for nursing, and the types of nurses practicing usually fit into one of these categories:

-Psychiatric and mental health nursing - caring for people with mental health problems

-Learning disability nursing (UK) - working with people with learning or developmental disabilities

-Pediatric nursing - caring for children

-Geriatric nursing - nursing of older adults

-Long-Term Care nursing - nursing people in acute care and long term care institutional settings

-Home health nursing - nursing people in their own homes

Within hospitals and clinics there are specialist nurses who are trained specifically to work in their particular field of interest, such as cardiac nursing, orthopedic nursing, palliative care, pre-operative nursing, oncology nursing and obstetrical nursing. There is also a specialized field for nurse-midwifery.

Certified Nurse-Midwives

Certified nurse-midwives are advance practice nurses, also called nurse practitioners, who provide primary care to women, reproductive health care, gynecological examinations, family planning help and menopausal care. Midwives are trained to recognize and deal with deviations from the norm although their primary focus is in low-risk pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding and postpartum care. Midwives who are not nurse practitioners work well with nurses and together they provide care to childbearing women, handling situations that are considered to be normal birthing situations, although they are trained to handle abnormal situations as well - like breech births and twins births.

Show Your Appreciation

There is a growing shortage of nurses internationally, which may explain the rise in the numbers of midwives over the past decade. Nurses, it may safely be said, are not usually paid what they're worth. They work long, hard, hours and have great responsibilities to uphold. Every year, on the occasion of Florence Nightingale's birthday, nurses worldwide celebrate Nurses Week. The event takes place in May, usually the week of May 6th through 12th. Special nurses gifts can be purchased during that time period. Such treats as bags, totes, cups, t-shirts, diaries and notebooks bearing the logo of Nurses Week are available.

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