It’s difficult to find positive lessons regarding coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). While many media outlets continue to focus on the death toll and the dangers of this worldwide pandemic, we wanted to take a moment to shine a light of positivity on the brave men and women who risk their lives to ensure our safety. As we celebrate National Nurses Week, we at Stormont Vail Health recognize our nurses, not just as members of our staff, but rather as heroes.
In honor of National Nurses Week, let’s take a look at how nurses went from serving in the war to serving in hospitals and clinics around the world.
When we think of how the profession of nursing got its start, we tend to think of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale was an upper-class British woman who led a group of 38 volunteer nurses to the Crimea in October of 1854 in an effort to treat British soldiers. Following the war, Nightingale returned to England and established nurse education programs in a number of hospitals. She is credited with laying the groundwork that would eventually grow nursing into the great profession it is today.
Nursing in the U.S.
In the beginning of health care, most services were centered on home visits. If you or a member of your family were sick, you would call the doctor and they would come to your house to treat you. This remained common practice until the nineteenth century. However, urbanization and industrialization began to evolve the medical field. Soon, the concept of hospitals spread throughout the United States. More hospitals meant an increase in demand of caregivers.
As the number of nurses grew in the late nineteenth century, nursing was no longer viewed as voluntary, but as a profession. In the 1890s, nurses began organizing professional associations including the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools of Nurses (later renamed National League of Nursing Education) and the Association Alumnae of the United States (later renamed American Nurses Association).
These associations were instrumental in passing state nurse registration acts. These registration acts provided nurses with their modern legal title, registered professional nurses (RN).
National Nurses Week
In January of 1974, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) announced that to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12 would be known as “International Nurses Day.” Shortly after, President Nixon issued a proclamation designating the week of May 6-12 as National Nurses Week.
Nursing and Stormont Vail
In August of 1991, The Baker University School of Nursing was established in the Pozez Education Center at Stormont Vail Hospital. The program offers a Bachelor of Science in nursing for basic and registered nurse students and a master’s degree in nursing. The on-site health care environment provides students hands-on training and creates a climate of collaboration and cooperation between faculty and students.
Stormont Vail is exceedingly proud of our nursing team. The hard work, dedication and commitment they have for their patients and their profession is incomparable. Thank you for being heroes and stepping up to care for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the entire year. Happy National Nurses Week!