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NURS FPX 6103 Assessment 1 The History of Nursing Education

The History of Nursing Education

NURS FPX 6103 Assessment 1 The History of Nursing Education

Nursing education has evolved over time from the model of apprenticeship in the pre-19th century era to the delivery of well-designed courses in higher learning institutions (McKenna et al., 2020). The changes in nursing education have had a meaningful impact on the preparation of nurses for the profession and the practice of nursing in various fields. These changes have also occurred as a result of certain significant historical events between the 18th and the 21st century. This article presents an overview of five of the significant historical influences on nursing and nursing education and the trends that will have an impact on the future of the profession and education.

Historical Influences on Nursing and Nursing Education

Among the events that have shaped nursing and nursing education, the five leading ones are (a) the US Civil War, (b) the establishment of hospital-based nursing schools, (c) the legislation of nursing licensure, (d) the establishment of the American Nurses Association (ANA), and (e) the introduction of degree programs. The US Civil War is one of the significant events that laid the foundation for the establishment of professional nursing in the country. Prior to the war, many women were considered as housewives whose work and influence were restricted to their homes. However, during the Civil War, many women volunteered to provide nursing care to soldiers, which helped shape public opinion on their role in healthcare and the need for formal training (Egenes, 2018). A good example of the impact was the endorsement of formal nursing training by the president of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War.

The second event was inspired by Florence Nightingale’s establishment of a hospital-based nursing school in London in 1860 after the Crimean War. In the US, the first hospital-based nursing school was established in 1872 at the New England Hospital for Women, allowing students to obtain diplomas after one year of study (Kreinberg, 2018). The event opened the way for formal nursing training and the requirement of diplomas for individuals to succeed in the profession and the establishment of more nursing schools. Afterward, in the year 1901, the framework for nursing licensure was established after a resolution for licensing all nurses through examination by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) (Kreinberg, 2018). The event was followed by various state legislations on nursing licensure over the following years, all of which had an impact on the requirements for nurses to become registered.

The next event was the establishment of the ANA, a professional body for the improvement of nursing care, in 1911 (Nursing World, 2022). After its establishment, registered nurses had a professional body to represent them, improve their working environment, provide ethical and professional standards, and advance the profession. The impacts of the ANA on the quality of health care are a subject for further study. Finally, as the profession grew and different levels of competency requirements emerged, the system moved from hospital-based diploma programs to the requirement for degree level training for nurses in community colleges or universities (Kreinberg, 2018). The move to associate degree or baccalaureate program requirements has influenced the quality of nursing education and scholarship in the profession.

Trends with Impact on Nursing and Nursing Education

Various trends have an impact on the future of nursing and nursing education. According to Kreinberg (2018), the most notable trends include the emphasis on the care for individual patients within the community, an increased emphasis on prevention and safety, and the need for equitable healthcare. As evidence emerges for the effectiveness of care when individuals are considered a part of a larger community or society, emphasis on nursing education and practice has been on the improvement of health care for people, families, and their communities instead of a focus on a single individual. The trend has evoked the need for better capacity and education for the nursing workforce in the country as espoused by the National Academy of Medicine (Wakefield et al., 2021). 

The second trend is the growing emphasis on prevention, safety, and patient self-care, calling for the need for collaborations in present and future nursing practice to ensure that patients receive the services from all providers who present potential benefits. Its influence is based on the historical foundations for systems-based practice, which inspires systems thinking and requires further training and practice among nurses (Plack et al., 2018). The final trend is the need for equitable health care for all communities, which calls for culture-sensitive nursing training and practice.


Egenes, K. J. (2018). History of nursing. In G. Roux, & J. A. Halstead, Issues and Trends in Nursing (pp. 3-28). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Kreinberg, M. (2018). A historical overview of nursing. In The Impact of Nursing on the Evolution of Health Care (pp. 21-40). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

McKenna, L., Davis, J., & Williams, E. (2020). Nursing and midwifery education: Historical perspectives. In D. Nestel, G. Reedy, L. McKenna, & S. Gough, Clinical Education for the Health Professions. Singapore: Springer.

Nursing World. (2022). About ANA. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/ana/about-ana/

Plack, M. M., Goldman, E. F., Scott, A. R., Pintz, C., Herrmann, D., Kline, K., . . . Brundage, S. B. (2018). Systems thinking and systems-based practice across the health professions: An inquiry into definitions, teaching practices, and assessment. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 30(3), 242-254. https://doi.org/10.1080/10401334.2017.1398654

Wakefield, M. K., Williams, D. R., Menestre, S. L., & Flauber, J. L. (2021). The future of nursing 2020-2030: Charting a path to achieve health equity. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

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