Week 8 Reflections

I had the opportunity to read about Isabel Robb this week.  She was a driven young woman who accomplished many things in her short life.  She founded the American Nurses Association and started the nursing program at Johns Hopkins.  She married and had two sons.  She was tragically killed in a street accident at the age of 49.

I must note that it is very interesting to read about these historical figures every week.  The pioneers that forged the way so that we may improve upon and carry on the legacy of nursing.

Week 7 Reflections

I had the opportunity to read about Sally Tompkins and Walt Whitman this week.  Both nurses in the Civil War.  I know who Walt Whitman was, but I had never heard of Sally Tompkins…

Sally Tompkins was born in Virginia and she was a small, but mighty woman.   She founded the Robertson hospital in Richmond, Virginia.  The hospital was named after a good family friend by the name of Judge John Robertson. She was known to carry medical supplies around her waist and always carried her Bible on her rounds.  She worked tirelessly to help wounded soldiers.  In fact, she enlisted her mother and many other women to work in the hospital when it wasn’t socially acceptable to expose women to the grim experiences of war.

She was instrumental in the direct correlation of infection control and cleanliness.  She was very meticulous about cleanliness in her hospital and that kept the mortality rate low.  This was before it was scientifically discovered that bacteria caused infection.  Um, wow!  Way to go Sally on keeping up on the sanitation before sanitation was really a “thing.”

I would also like to note that Miss Sally was made an officer in the military and THAT was a huge deal at the time.  Remember what I wrote above?  Society thought that women, in general, shouldn’t be around the casualties of war.  Miss Sally (a civilian AND female) comes along to be made a captain.   Small, but mighty!

I am still thinking about Walt Whitman and I can’t help but to feel sad about his Civil War experiences as a nurse.  He went to look for his brother and became a nurse to aid in the nursing efforts during the war.  He, like many civilians and military alike, saw many awful things.  He experienced death and treated terrible wounds.  He wrote about his experiences, but according the article I read, he never recovered from his combat experience.  He suffered mentally and physically for the remainder of his life.  

I can’t help but think that different people process things differently.  My resilience isn’t going to be the same as the next person.  Everyone has different coping mechanisms.  I know that I am going to face difficult experiences, people, and places as a nurse.  However, I know that my patients will be counting on me to care for them to the best of my ability.  Fortunately we have many available resources that help with coping with difficult experiences.  There is always going to be the good with the bad and I am prepared to do both.

Week 6 Reflections

Nursing in the 1830’s,1840’s, and 1850’s…..
What can be said about this timeline? I honestly didn’t know what I would find when I began researching this period, but I was happy to discover history (relating to nursing) that occurred in the United States of America. Historical relevance, people! That is what comes to my mind this week.
I am not saying that medical/health professional history that took place in other countries is not relevant (it is!), but I love American history and I love to read about historical figures that helped shape this great nation, but also the profession of nursing.
With that being said, an article about Dorthea Dix caught my eye. It was actually a small paragraph about her efforts to help the mentally ill be treated and cared for in a humane way. In a time where not much was known about mental illness and how to care for people suffering from it, I thought that she had to be a champion…of some sort.
That little blip fueled my search for more information on Dorthea and it led me to an article, from the Smithsonian, where I read more about her. It may have been her early home life that ignited her desire to help the mentally ill. Her mother and father suffered from depression and she cared for her family starting at a very young age. She taught school and she volunteered during the Civil War to be a nurse (and was made the Superintendent of Nurses for the Army).
This is where the historical relevance comes in! She lead the nurses in the Civil War the the war is a huge part of American history! This makes her a historical figure in American history too. She freely gave of her time and resources to execute her duties as a patriot and a nurse. With no formal training. It is hard to comprehend how she did it…
I can’t wait to read more about American history of Nursing!

Week 5 Reflections

This week we have been reading and researching nursing from 1800-1829. If you conducted your own search, you would find little information on the history of nursing timeline. However, you WILL find a very important name in nursing and it is (drum roll, please) Florence Nightingale! Have you heard that name before? I am guessing that you have…
If you haven’t (and you are a pre-nursing or nursing student…you may have missed a key figure that is accredited to being the “founder of modern nursing).
I watched a documentary on Florence and it was interesting. I knew very little about her before this week and I have to give her credit for what she did to lay the groundwork for those that came after her. She was instrumental in figuring out how sanitation and proper conditions can be directly attributed to patient care and health (and mortality!). She devoted her life to nursing. She was a pioneer for the profession!
There is so much I could write about Florence, but honestly I think that I have a personal duty to carry on the dignity of modern nursing with compassion, skill, and advocacy. If Florence can make a difference in the early 19th century (with the limited resources that she had), then I can definitely make a difference in the 21st century!

Week 4 Reflections

I have to comment this week on our group discussions. I think that we have had good discussions regarding our reading material this week. We read about midwives in the 18th Century. I found that all of my team members posts made me think critically about nurse midwife history. Who pioneered the profession? Why did they do what they did?
I have always thought midwives took just a holistic approach to labor and delivery, but I now know that there is a clinical approach as midwives can have privileges at hospitals. Also, have many generations of women been midwives but not through any formal education or training, but by being mothers and grandmothers that have assisted in prenatal, antepartum, and postpartum care? Something to think about as I continue to think about midwives and their role in women’s (and children) care.

Thank You,

Julie 🙂

Week 3 Reflections

It has been interesting to read about the development and history of nursing. I knew a little about monks and nuns being the first nurses, but I read that it goes back even farther to ancient Rome.
It is important to read how nursing developed through history by men and women caring for the sick. Early nurses relied on traditions passed down through generations to care for people. I learned that it was status-related as whether you were cared for at home, or at the hospital. Wealthy individuals were cared for in their homes and the less fortunate were cared for at hospitals.
How can we be effective nurses if we don’t know where our profession (and passion) came from? Sure, things have changed so much since the 1600’s, but the desire to care for, nurture, and heal has not. Those cannot be learned in a classroom, or textbook. The will to be a nurse is a personal thing and the classroom is the catalyst. We must understand our past and carry it on to our future.
History itself is an interesting subject to me, but reading, writing, and learning about nursing is fascinating to me. I think about sanitation (among other things). How did they do it? There wasn’t standard precautions, or gloves, or even hand washing! There wasn’t modern medicine and no guidelines to follow. How did these early nurses do it? It is amazing to me that they made it with the resources that were available. I am just getting started and have just scratched the surface of early nursing history. I know that there is so much I have yet to read and learn.

An Introduction…

Hello!  My name is Julie and I am a Pre-Nursing student at Utah Valley University.  This blog is my Reflective Journal for my Nursing Across the Ages course.  I will be sharing my thoughts and experiences through the course and hopefully some insight on my nursing journey!  


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