Many people think of health care careers as the noblest of professions, and nursing is no exception. With the amount of hands-on, around-the-clock care that nurses typically give their patients, it’s no wonder that nursing gets so much respect. There are many specialties that nurses can train for, and their core values and collective contributions are all admirable. Regardless of whether the position is mainly bedside care or office tasks, compassion, quick thinking, intuitiveness, and knowledge are truly what make them stand out. A quick look at history shows us just a few great nursing contributions and why we still should be very thankful for nurses today.
One of the basic duties of nurses is to keep up with the latest in healthcare. Their job also involves educating their patients.
Often, nurses must look at patient needs holistically, not just give them medicine. Thus, it should not be a surprise that nurses often go above and beyond to care for others.
Speaking of nursing education, it is almost impossible to forget the contributions of Florence Nightingale. Some people say she is the mother of nursing.
Since the creation of her first formal nursing school in 1860, her curriculum has been seen as a foundation or inspiration for nursing programs around the world. That includes the one at grand canyon university nursing school.
Fast forward to the 20th century. The inspirational words of Virginia Henderson helped shape modern nursing. Thanks to her inspirational written works, nurses around the world have learned the importance of respecting patient needs and providing patients with education.
An important thing she emphasized was teaching and preparing patients to be independent even when not under direct care. Those are more reasons to be thankful for nurses!
2. Nurses in history: Advocacy and legislation
With a quality education, such as that offered at the grand canyon university nursing program, as well as continuous learning and close patient relationships, nurses often make great advocates for patients. With an emphasis on lifelong learning, nurses often are a trustworthy source of information when it comes to the needs and comforts of others. They have been instrumental in shaping legislation for the better.
For example, Margaret Sanger did a lot for family planning and reproductive rights. She is the most famous for creating Planned Parenthood. But her efforts along the way are just as important.
Some ways she has made a difference are:
- International research on birth control
- Fights against anti-contraception legislation
- The launch of a magazine to inform and educate readers about their options
3. Civil rights: Being thankful for nurses
Nurses have helped advance civil rights matters too. That’s yet another reason to be thankful for nurses.
Consider Susie King Taylor, the first African-American nurse who incorporated her early teaching background to teach literacy to African-American soldiers during the civil war.
Also, note the contributions of the first African-American Registered Nurse, Mary Eliza Mahoney. She not only hit an important milestone for minorities in nursing but also paved the way for other nurses of color.
How did she do so? By bringing attention to discrimination and inequality in nursing.
One of the most trustworthy organizations for relief efforts for the military or natural disasters is the American Red Cross, which is the brainchild of nurse Clara Barton. From her start as a civil war nurse, she grew an organization that people still depend on today. Activities of the American Red Cross include:
- Deliver supplies
- Provide education
- Bridge communication gaps in difficult conditions
Clara Barton used the framework of a similar program in Switzerland to create the Red Cross. It was designed to meet American needs both within the country and internationally.
Remembering to be thankful for nurses
Many people remember the direct care they received in hospitals or clinics from nurses. However, it’s also important to remember the significant ways that nurses’ knowledge and compassion have improved the world.
Do you have experience with a nurse who went above the call of duty? Please share your nursing experience below or more about nurses in history.