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The History of Nursing as a Profession

Nursing has in essence been part of humanity since the beginning of time. In fact, the dictionary definition of nursing includes the concept of taking care of babies and children as a mother does. Taking care of the sick, as engraved in the common understanding of nursing began as early as humanity and human suffering existed(Isaac, 2007). In all cultures and traditions, there have always been a group of people who are dedicated, either through training of talent to take care of the sick and the suffering in the society. This makes the history of nursing a difficult concept to explore. However, nursing as a profession has a rather simpler historical perspective. This paper explores the history of nursing as a profession from the Cold War to present. The paper will include the major themes that led to the recognition of the profession in the cold war era and the current challenges and opportunities.

The modern nursing profession was started by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War in the 1850s. She was dedicated to tending to the soldiers who got injured during the war and was focused on providing them with first aid and also dispensing drugs to the soldiers in the battlefield. By the time the Cold War era set in, the profession was already a century old and had been recognized as a profession in many countries around the world(Newnham, 2014). In addition, colleges had already been established to formally train nurses on basic nursing skills. Different from other professions whose progression was affected by the Cold War, nursing was in fact promoted by the issues of sicknesses and health challenges during this period(Egenes, 2009).

In almost all the countries, including the United States of America, the Army had special units that took care of the sick and the ailing soldiers and civilians in the war. These aspects assisted in the making of nursing a noble profession that is valued and respected worldwide. Military hospitals were created to provide healthcare services to the soldiers and the civilians. Nurses were trained hands-on in these hospitals, and this was the foundation of the colleges for training nurses alongside other healthcare professionals(Isaac, 2007). Technological advancement has also helped in the developing of the profession through assisting in communication, training and delivery of important healthcare services.

Presently, the nursing profession is recognized as one of the globally accepted professions. Professional nurses can work in any place around the world under the global umbrella for nurses. In addition, due to the nature of the profession, nurses are welcome to work in any environment where healthcare services are required. Being considered a call has led to some governments around the world disregarding the profession(Egenes, 2009). Most of the nurses in the world are underpaid and overburdened. However, the profession is rapidly growing, and the improved education system allows nurses today to work in diverse work settings, not just in the hospitals. This is a major opportunity in the profession.

The future of the nursing profession is bright as there is not a single day in the human life that the duties of nurses will be obsolete. Activism to ensure that nurses are adequately compensated and recognized is, however, necessary to assure the future.

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