This was the last week of our course, Nursing Across the Ages. Last week was our last week going through all the history of nurses so this week our assignment was to research the future of nursing. This was a really interesting topic and I learned a lot from my research and from the research of others on my team. One of the most interesting facts I learned this week was that the Institute of Medicine recommends that by 2020 the number of nurses with a Bachelors degree increases to 80 percent. This is just a glimpse into the future of nursing and that more people are going to have a higher degree of schooling and nurses are going to be required to go through more school and have more training and education. The profession of nurses is just continuing to grow more and more. I loved researching this topic and seeing how nursing is expected to grow in the next few years, even just 5 years. Technology and education is constantly growing and will grow forever with all of the new information and medicine we are always discovering, learning about, and making. I think nursing is so important and interesting and it is so essential to everyone’s lives.
For this week, we focused our learning on the 21st century. With this, a lot of my team’s discussions were about the Afghanistan War. Through my own research and through reading the posts written by my teammates, I learned a lot about what nurses went through during this War. It was different than how it is in the U.S in that the nurses weren’t allowed to talk to their families. They weren’t in safe living conditions and didn’t have the best food. A lot of the nurses suffered from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because of the things that they would see and the soldiers that they had to heal during this time. This made me gain a big appreciation for the nurses during this war and how it was the farthest thing from fun for them, yet they did it anyways. I will remember this now forever and will always refer back to it when I feel that same way while working and helping patients.
This week focused on the time period of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Consequently, a lot of what I learned this week was about the Vietnam War. I loved learning about these time periods this week because it is getting closer and closer to what it is like for nurses now days. Slowly I see similarities and progression that leads to the amazing and highly educated nurses that there are today. Nurses also gained independence and were trusted in their judgement for assessing and treating patients on their own. The mortality rate for WWII was 4.5% per thousands of soldiers, yet in the Vietnam War it dropped even further to 2.6%. These nurses improved the nursing profession and remembered to help the patient in every way and made sure to never leave a dying patient alone to pass.
This week’s learning focused on the time period between 1940-1960. This most significant part of this era was World War II. I learned a lot from my own research and especially from the research of my group members. In the beginning of WWII, there was a big nursing shortage. The National Nursing Council for War was created in July of 1940 and it promoted nursing schools so that students could graduate as registered nurses. Unfortunately, this still didn’t help with the shortage. President Roosevelt then proposed that there would be a nursing draft if more nurses didn’t volunteer.
I loved learning about this time period and what it was like for nurses during this war. The numbers of nurses increased dramatically throughout the war and nursing schools were growing. I now have a huge appreciate for nurses and what they went through during this time to help out in such a big war.
This week we focused on the time period between 1920 and 1930. A monumental part of this era was the Great Depression. As expected, this really impacted nurses in a negative way, as did it affect the majority of all other employees in their work professions. Today, people pay a lot of money for nurses and their care, but during this depression, nurses agreed to extremely low wages, even $15 per month. During and even before the depression, most graduate nurses struggled to maintain a steady income through private duty assignments. Graduate nurse supply exceeded the demand of paying patients. Therefore, nurses accepted really low wages from hospitals and were happy to be working constantly. This gives me a huge respect for nurses especially in that time when work wasn’t really worth it but they had to do it anyways and worked as much as they could. I am now so grateful that nurses work today with good pay and good working conditions.
This week’s learning consisted of the years of 1900-1919. First of all, by researching on my own and reading the posts of my teammates, I learned that nurses finally became “licensed” nurses. This is amazing to me in that this was only 100 years ago. Nursing has evolved since the 1800s and we finally got to a time period where nurses had to be licensed in order to work. I couldn’t fathom having a nurse that wasn’t actually licensed working on me and trying to improve my quality and quantity of life. A lot of this time period was all about World War 1. By the start of the war, there were 600 nurses and by the end of it, there were over 21,000 nurses. What a huge jump in order to care for the thousands of soldiers that were fighting. Nurses had to go through the mental and emotional heartache dealing with all these good people that were fighting and putting their lives on the line in order to defend.
For class this week we focused on the time period of the 1880s and the 1890s. This time period was right after the Civil War ended, and new understandings emerged about the spread of disease and infection. Surgeons used more sterilized and safe equipment during surgeries and washed hands and arms with “green soap”. Although sanitation started to emerged during this time, it wasn’t until 1889 that antiseptics became a widely used and successful technique for surgeries. It was also emphasized in other posts that this time period was an important time of learning and progressing for nurses. The first nursing textbook was written and more and more nursing school were being built. I love seeing week to week how much nursing exponentially grew back in these time periods.
The focus of this week’s learning was on nursing during the 1860s and the 1870s. This time period was when the Civil War broke out in the United States. Obviously, there was a great need for nurses during this time. Women like Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, and Dorothea Dix each had amazing contributions to nursing during the Civil War. Dix was named the superintendent of nurses and had responsibilities such as setting up field hospitals and field stations, recruiting nurses, setting up training programs, and managing supplies. In 1860, Nightingale opened the first school of nursing in London, and consequently, more and more nursing schools were created. The Civil War brought about many wonderful contributions to nursing and kept nursing on track to become better and more successful with time.
This week we discussed nursing during the years of 1830-1859. One of the most well known, respected nurses was born during this era and her name was Florence Nightingale. As we read and studied more about her this week, I have gained a genuine appreciation for what she did in the advancement of nursing. It was very cool to see how one person can have a huge effect on history. This week we watched a youtube video about the life of Florence learned more about her childhood, the events that happened in her life, mistakes that she has made, and successes that she has had. Florence Nightingale was human, therefore, imperfect, and it was refreshing to hear about her from a realistic side and as a normal human being than as this woman that we worship in the nursing world. I enjoyed this week and the material that was learned and studied.
This week our main focus was on nursing during the years of 1800-1829. This was an important time period because just alone the most famous of nurses was born in 1820. Her name was Florence Nightingale and her practices that she discovered are still in use today. Nightingale greatly impacted the world of nursing. I also researched a lot of different events that happened during this time period including the opening of a hospital by a former slave in Virginia, and the first psychiatric hospital opened in Philadelphia. This time period was fun to learn and read about because this was the start of a take-off in nursing. People began to learn to keep work areas clean, an education on the topic increased. After learning about this era, I feel very grateful that the knowledge of good nursing began to be helpful to people, and we could learn and grow off of that ever since.