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Lecture Notes

Significant Events in the History of Nursing

  • Theodor Fliedner reinstituted the Order of Deaconesses from earlier days, opened a small hospital and training school in Kaiserwerth, Germany, where Florence Nightingale, "The Founder of Modern Nursing", received her training.
  • Florence Nightingale, long concerned with care of the sick, was named Superintendent of the Female Nursing Establishment of the English General Hospitals in Turkey and placed in charge of nursing care of soldiers during the Crimean War.
  • Florence Nightingale published Notes on nursing: What it is and what it is not in London, which was intended for the ordinary woman, not as a text for nurses.
1861 - 1865 
  • Harriet Tubman nursed sick and suffering slaves fleeing to the North on the "Underground Railroad".
  • The Geneva Convention, an international conference that established a treaty to govern and protect those wounded in war, the supplies needed to care for them, and those providing care, was established by Jean Henri Dumant of Switzerland; 14 nations ratified the treaty and established National Red Cross societies (the United States was not among them).
  • National Women's Suffrage Association was organized to promote the voting rights for women and Lavinia Dock, a nurse, saw this as a way to also promote and expand the rights of nurses.
  • Women's Hospital, Philadelphia, and New England Hospital for Women and Children, Boston, opened training schools for nurses. 
  • Linda Richards graduated from New England Hospital for Women and Children's school of nursing, Boston, and became known as America's first trained nurse. 
  • First three nursing schools patterned after (but not strictly according to) Nightingale principles were established at Bellevue Hospital, New York, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and New Haven Hospital, Connecticut.
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney graduated from New England Hospital for Women and Children's school of nursing, Boston, and became known as America's first trained African-American nurse.
  • American National Red Cross was organized by Clara Barton and linked with the international organization when the United States Congress ratified the treaty established at the Geneva Convention.
  • Clara Weeks Shaw published the first textbook written by an American nurse titled Textbook of nursing for the use of training schools, families, and private students.
  • The Nightingale Pledge was written and administered for the first time to graduates of the Farrand Training School of Harper Hospital, Detroit.
  • Lillian Wald and Mary Brewster founded the Henry Street Settlement in New York, the first home visiting nursing organization in the United States. 
  • The American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses (renamed the National League of Nursing Education [NLNE] in 1912) was established.
  • The University of Texas established a school of nursing as a regular division in its medical department
  • Nurses' Associated Alumnae of United States and Canada (renamed the American Nurses Association [ANA] in 1911) was established.
  • International Council of Nurses (ICN) was established.
  • The University of Minnesota established the first autonomous nursing program in a higher academic setting.
  • American Journal of Nursing, the first nursing journal to be owned, operated by nurses, was published.
  • United States Army Nurse Corps was established by an act of Congress.
  • The first nurse practice acts were passed in North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York.
  • Mary Adelaide Nutting joined Teacher's College, Columbia University, New York, and became the first professor of nursing in the world.
  • National Association of  Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) was established.
  • United States Navy Nurse Corps was established by an act of Congress.
  • National Organization for Public Health Nursing (NOPHN) was established. 
  • NLNE published its first Standard curriculum for schools of nursing; revised editions, under slightly different titles, appeared in 1927 and 1937.
  • Sigma Theta Tau, founded by six nursing students at the Indiana Training School for Nurses, was established.
  • Publication of Nursing and nursing education in the United States by the Rockefeller Foundation, better known as the Goldmark Report, which criticized the low standards, inadequate financing, and lack of separation of education from service in nursing education and advocated financial support of university-based schools of nursing.
  • Two independent schools of nursing were established, with the aid of endowments, at Yale University, New Haven, and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.
  • Frontier Nursing Service was established in Kentucky by Mary Breckinridge.
  • Publication of Nurses, patients, and pocketbooks by the Committee on Grading of Nursing Schools, better known as the Burgess report, which indicated that there was an oversupply of nurses in general but an under supply of adequately prepared ones. 
  • Stock market crash virtually eliminated private duty nursing due to prohibitive cost.
  • American Association of Nurse-Midwives was established (merged in 1969 with the American College of Nurse-Midwifery to become the American College of Nurse-Midwives).
  • Shift from a public health to a hospital-based system of health care delivery and implementation of the Taylor system.
  • Publication of Nursing schools today and tomorrow, final report of the Committee on Grading of Nursing Schools, confirmed weaknesses pointed out in the Goldmark Report and recommended graduate instead of student nursing staffs and called for public support of nursing education.
  • United States nurses served in World War II.
  • The National Mental Health Act facilitated development of graduate programs in psychiatric nursing.
  • ANA adopted its economic security (now economic and general welfare) program legitimizing collective bargaining for nurses through their state associations.
  • Publication of Nursing for the future by the National Nursing Council for War services, better known as the Brown report, which recommended that education for nursing belonged in colleges and universities, not in hospitals. 
  • NLNE established the National Nursing Accrediting Service for nursing educational programs.
  • United States Air Force Nursing Corps was established by an act of Congress.
  • ANA adopted a code of ethics.
1950 - 1953
  • United States nurses served in the Korean Conflict.
  • Nursing Research was published.
  • After years of study, the nursing profession in the United States was restructured into two national organizations: the ANA and the newly formed National League for Nursing, which merged the former NLNE, NOPHN, and ACSN.
  • Associate degree education for nursing begun in an experimental project at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, by Mildred Montag.
  • National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) was established.
  • Hildegard Peplau developed the first graduate program in psychiatric nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
  • Federal nurse traineeship program established to aid registered nurses in advanced study.
  • The National Organization for Women (NOW) was established.
  • United States nurses served in the Vietnam War.
  • Publication of Toward quality in nursing by the Surgeon General's Consultant Group in Nursing, which projected the need for more and better prepared nurses. 
  • The Civil Rights Act was passed by an act of Congress.
  • First Nurse Training Act allocated federal aid for nursing education in the United States.
  • ANA issued its first position paper on nursing education recommending that it should take place in institutions of higher education and stipulating of the baccalaureate degree as the minimum preparation for professional nursing practice and the associate degree for technical nursing practice. 
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner program initiated at the University of Colorado, Boulder, marking the beginning of the "nurse practitioner" or "expanded role of the nurse" movement. 
  • Publication of An abstract for action by the National Commission on Nursing and Nursing Education, better known as the Lysaught Report, which categorized nursing into episodic (illness) and distributive (preventative and health maintenance) care.
  • Publication of Extending the scope of nursing practice by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) which endorsed extension of the nurse’s traditional functions and responsibilities.
  • Nurses for Political Action, now Nurses' Coalition for Action in Politics (N-CAP), was established to promote legislation in behalf of nursing. 
  • ANA started certification programs for nurses in specialty areas.
  • ANA House of Delegates resolved that by 1985 the minimum preparation for entry into professional practice should be the baccalaureate degree in nursing.
  • Committee on Credentialing in Nursing called for establishment of a free-standing national credentialing center, not endorsed by the ANA.
  • NLN endorsed the baccalaureate degree in nursing as the minimum preparation for entry into professional nursing practice. 
  • ANA converted to a federation of constituent nurses' associations rather than an association of individual nurse members.
  • Congress introduced legislation supporting a community nursing center model, which would develop freestanding nursing centers.
  • United States nurses served in the Gulf War.
  • The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) released a draft position paper and model legislation calling for a second license for advanced practice nurses.
  • A bill to provide Medicare reimbursement to nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives was introduced in Congress.

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This page was last modified on 6/1/03