Nursing is without a doubt one of the most important and rewarding jobs anyone can consider for a career. People have always needed knowledgeable professionals to provide healthcare services and extended care when sick or injured. Fortunately, modern treatments, medications, and sanitation has vastly improved what was available historically. The past century has seen enormous improvements in mortality rates for conditions that were once fatal but are now considered common and not so serious today.
Here are a few interesting facts about nursing throughout history.
Emergency rooms are busier when it is warmer
ER nurses should prepare to be the busiest during spring and summer. As people emerge from winter and become more active with outdoor activities, visits to the emergency room increase a lot. Of course, this also coincides with the time children are out of school, so emergency rooms see a lot more visits from this age group in particular.
Nursing is one of the most respectable and ethical jobs
A Gallup poll found that people have a lot of admiration and respect for nurses. In fact, the profession is often ranked as the most admirable job to have, with good reason. Nurses have a very rewarding job, but it is not the easiest. Long shifts and witnessing suffering can take a toll. Nurses must be strong and able to express a lot of empathy while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance. At the start of a career, this can be very difficult. Experienced nurses can help those just starting out to deal with learning how to balance everything and maintain a high standard of care for their patients.
The first official school of nursing was established in 1862
The New England School of Nursing was the first institution of its kind. Before that, anyone that wanted to work as a nurse or physician’s assistant only had the option of learning by working under a more experienced medical professional. Alternatively, they could begin by learning what they could from books before applying this knowledge to taking care of others.
Florence Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing
Florence Nightingale managed and trained nurses during the Crimean War. This was groundbreaking because the army was hesitant to hire female nurses to serve during war time. Medicine was still very much considered a man’s world. Before the Crimean War, she was known for improving hygiene practices in nursing and healthcare and thus drastically reducing rates of infection and death.
The biggest employer of nurses will be nursing homes
All over the world, but particularly in North America, there is a huge population of aging adults. With the largest number of older adults in modern history comes a very high demand for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While some nurses may not start out as geriatric care nurses, some will progress to this area at some point in their career.
Penicillin was the first naturally derived antibiotic
Before penicillin, infections were much harder to treat, leading to higher mortality rates. In 1928, penicillin was first discovered but it was not commercially available until the early 1940s. This changed the world of medicine in a groundbreaking way. Further research into antibiotics led to the plethora of options we have available today. While infections are serious, they are now easily treated at an often-low overall cost.
Nursing is a career with potential
While nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the US, there are nowhere near enough nurses to meet demand. Now is a great time for individuals to consider becoming a second career nurse. Baylor University offers an excellent online Accelerated Bachelor of Science Nursing program that can be completed in just one year for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
Nursing is becoming more technology based
The traditional duties and roles of a nurse look a bit different today than they did even just a few years ago. Thanks to modern technological advances in the medical industry, nurses are taking care of more patients per nurse than ever before. Digital record keeping systems have reduced medical mistakes and the time necessary to input notes. Smart dosage systems mean nurses do not have to monitor IVs as much either.
Medical robots help deliver equipment and medications to different areas of facilities. Smartphones and watches allow nurses to instantly send messages or call other medical staff no matter where they are.
COVID-19 led to significant numbers of nurses leaving
Unfortunately, according to the 2022 National Nursing Force Survey, around 100,000 registered nurses left their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional 34,000 licensed practical and vocational nurses left too. That is a huge number to leave the workforce when demand for nursing is at an all-time high. That demand is going to become even greater for the decades to come.
The reasons for leaving are varied, with some nurses simply retiring due to age. Health factors account for further losses. Family reasons due to the pandemic were another common factor. This exodus means that there are job opportunities practically everywhere for those that want to start a career in healthcare.
The field of nursing has a rich, full history of dedication to helping others. This history will continue with a bright new generation of nurses from a variety of backgrounds. Some nurses will have started their careers early on, while a lot of others will be entering nursing as a second career. Both can make a huge difference to the field.