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Nurse’s Week 2010

Posted May 07 2010 12:00am
Florence Nightingale, the first female member ...
Image via Wikipedia

Nurses Week is celebrated each year from May 6th til May 12th, which is the birthday date of .

We all know that nursing today is nothing like it was 100 years ago, right?  Just for fun, there is a link to a graduating class from 1910 .  The truth is, I did start this post thinking about how incredibly different the profession is compared to 100 years ago.  Of course, it has been a little while since I took “History of Nursing 101”.  Plus, I had a bit different perspective back then.

When I was doing a little research to write this, it struck me as an older, wiser head now, that while things indeed have changed radically, with technology, education, new opportunities in the field and more, there are many aspects to nursing that really haven’t changed much at all.

If you go to the link http://www.nurseweek.com/features/99-12/workhist.html and read the article, there is a certain sense of how things never change so much as they stay the same.

Here are some items I thought bear reflection:

  • No antibiotics, so nurses were in near constant danger of contracting a serious infection from their patients and environment.
  • Long hours, tough jobs
  • What we call home health care today was huge “back in the day” and called private duty nursing
  • You had to love hard work to enjoy being a nurse
  • Attention to detail and follow up was a big part of the nurses’ role
  • Scientific knowledge (as far as it went) was a requirement
  • Knowledge and practice of good hygiene was paramount
  • Compassion, empathy and a commitment to service was part of the nurse’s stock in trade

When you look at today’s environment:

  • Home health care is back on the rise due to “new” models in medicine
  • We do have treatments for the infectious diseases that our foremothers (and fathers) didn’t have, but today we face other, difficult to treat infections, such as MRSA and C-Diff
  • You still gotta love the job, at the end of the day!
  • Scientific training and education is still the backbone of nursing education
  • Hygiene, infection control are still vital
  • Long hours, tough jobs
  • Compassion, empathy and a commitment to service remain some of the primary characteristics of today’s nurse

So, while we have “come a long way, baby”, our core values as nursing professionals remain the same.  And that’s a good thing!  Here’s to you…Happy Nurse’s Week!

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