Nursing - Then & Now Sarah biddulph 2017

Origins of Nursing

Over time, nursing all over the world has changed dramatically, including training, practices and uniforms. The word nurse comes from the Latin 'nutrire' meaning suckle and referring to a wet nurse. In the sixteenth century, it started to be known as people who looked after the sick and injured. Florence Nightingale started her nursing training at the Institute of St Vincent de Paul in Egypt in 1854. In what was known as 'modern nursing' in the 19th century, nurses were needed in all of the different wars, including the Crimean and Civil Wars. During the Crimean War in the mid 1850's, Nightingale was required to help the injured soldiers who were fighting. Nurses were needed by soldiers and were relied on by the soldiers' families to help any of them who were injured.

Key practices used in the past

There have been many changes in equipment and training in nursing. 50 years ago, syringes were reusable, made of glass and were sterilised with fire after each use. They were also sharpened with whetstones to get them ready for the next use. Instead of the IV bags we have today, there were IV bottles which were also made from glass. If these bottles were dropped, they would smash which would lead to the fluids inside of them to spill everywhere and would be contaminated and unable to be used. 50 years ago, most nurses lived at the hospitals where they worked, and where their training took place. They were also trained "on-the-job", just like any other normal trade job. Nurses had to stand to attention whenever a doctor entered any room, as they were considered to be a "doctor's assistant". They were used to wipe up any mess made, hand over equipment needed when required and use to do all of the 'dirty jobs'. The traditional uniform consisted of a skirt, stockings and a cap, and they did not have much independence. These days, nurses are much more than an assistant, they work independently and take care of patients when a doctor is too busy or does not need to care for the patient. They are also highly trained, compared to 50 years ago when most nurses started the work as untrained and with no skills.

Current practices used

These days, modern medicine can be seen as a "throwaway culture", according to Brainscape, due to everything from gloves to syringes being disposable, which can also create a pollution issue. Although this disposable equipment has the potential to cause pollution, it guarantees patients that it is clean when the nurses use it and there is no spreading of diseases or viruses. In the 21st century, nurses have more mobility than ever, and are given a lot more independence. Nurses are now trained at a higher level of care compared to decades ago, and there is now more specialisation in nursing. This means it allows students to go down the path specialisation including diabetes, pharmacology and dental nursing. Over the past 20 years, there has been a significant movement toward more hospitals and away from smaller clinics and healthcare facilities. This means that larger health care institutions are gaining more attention from patients and workers, while small business doctors and health facilities are losing the attention. This has sparked much controversy, with some people, such as hospital workers, being in favour of this change, and others like home doctors not liking it at all.

Advantages and Disadvantages of changes in Nursing

There has been a massive change in how patient records are maintained, medications are ordered and care is passed from different providers, which is causing ripple effects throughout the medical field. It can be seen that there is a generational divide; meaning there are people who like the new technology and others who don’t. Older nurses are uncomfortable with new technology for many reasons such as the inability to use the technology and the idea of change, as they would have their ways of doing things set in place. This is causing the use of new technology and ways of caring for patients to be not as frequent, as most people are against it.

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