The American Civil War and Other 19th Century Influences on the Development of Nursing
AuthorMiller, Nikki L.
Committee ChairReed, Pamela
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Industrial Revolution created sweeping cultural and technological changes in 19th century American society. During this era, nursing evolved from an unskilled to a skilled form of work. Changes in manufacturing, communication, and transportation occurred differentially in America, which favored the growth of different regional economies. Sectionalism erupted into the first modern war in American history. The Civil War created the conditions in which nursing, medicine, and the hospital formed organizational structures, roles, and boundaries that would later form the template for the modern healthcare system. The purpose of this research was to study how the context and culture of mid-nineteenth century American life affected the evolution of nursing during the Civil War, and the later affect it would have on skilled nursing knowledge, roles, education, and practice. The overall goal of the work is to contribute to the body of research on parallel historic processes that had an influence over the formation of early skilled nursing practice and the evolution of the nursing role. The effect of parallel processes associated with the Industrial Revolution and the advent of modern warfare on the development of skilled nursing were the particular focus of this research. A social history methodology was utilized to examine texts and discourse from the Civil War period. It was found that advances in transportation, communication, and manufacturing were both integral to the advent of modern war and modern nursing, and that the advent of these was highly integrated. It was also found that the industrialization of the hospital in response to wartime was highly influential on the development of skilled nursing programs later in the century. The role that nurses would take in the postbellum hospital, however, reflected the mass media image of nursing generated during the war rather than actual wartime practice.