Civil War Nursing

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Introduction Nursing is the profession of providing care to the sick and infirm. Medicine is apart of our heritage as women, and our history. If you were to look at health care in 1800, there was no medical knowledge. “There was no legal definition of a doctor, and few restrictions on the practice of healing” (Robert Dingwall). Medical care was given by family members, especially women, using treatments taken from books of home remedies (Anne Marie Rafferty). Women have always been healers, independent healers, often the only healers for women and the poor (Barbara Ehrenreich). Development of Nursing In the early nineteenth century nursing was not an identifiable occupation. Anyone could willingly describe themselves as a nurse, and what they did to be nursing. It was natural that women were the nurses and the caregivers, because they were caretakers of children, family and the community (Mary Ann Bickerdyke). The home was the center of health care, and for the first two centuries all nursing was home nursing. When the nation’s first hospital began in Philadelphia in 1751, it was thought of as a poorhouse. It took two centuries before the public viewed hospitals as prestigious and safe. The Civil War gave enormous impulsion to the building of hospitals and to the development of nursing as a…show more content…
The United States Civil War advanced the nursing profession from an invisible unrecognized domestic labor to a valued purpose that serves honorably as a skillful position. The dramatic contributions nurses made prompted many people in positions of power to institute reforms that resulted in a vastly improved healthcare delivery system (Cathryn Domrose). “The work of Civil War nurses proved that, women could provide care for men they were not related to without damaging their reputations, convincing American leaders of the value of creating a trained nursing force” (Cathryn
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