The Beginnings Of Nursing
The development of nursing has followed the development of mankind. In its most early phases, nurses were almost exclusively female family members. Nursing gained ground toward becoming a profession due to the care provided to the poor, the indigent, the infirm, and the insane; to prisoners and orphans; as well as to women during childbirth and to people during war times. Laywomen who initially tried to fill the demand for more nursing care during the expansion to the New World were ineffective, as they were without role models or training. Religious orders played an important part in the development of nursing care facilities through care provided in their convents, abbeys, and almshouses. In the mid-1850s, the Crimean War provided Florence Nightingale with the necessary outpouring of public support to effect changes in nursing. Nightingale initiated such advances as the establishment of an organized training school and a formalized and standardized organization, thus finally turning nursing into a suitable occupation for women. Nursing was well on its way to being a profession, although it would still take more than one hundred years to become fully acknowledged as a separate health care entity. Nurses now make up the largest international work force in health care.