Nursing and technology have been inexorably linked since the beginnings of trained nursing in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Whether or not they thought of the devices they used as technology, nurses have necessarily used a variety of tools, instruments, and machinesfrom thermometers to cardiac monitorsto appraise, treat, and comfort patients. Tracing the relationship between nursing and technology from the 1870s to the present, Margarete Sandelowski argues that technology has helped shape and intensify persistent dilemmas in nursing and that it has both advanced and impeded the development of the profession.
Sandelowski examines key moments in the history of nursing that dramatize the ironies of the nursing-technology relationship. She demonstrates that nurses both embraced and rejected technology in their pursuit of cultural visibility and professional autonomywith varying amounts of success.
As one of the domains of female work historically most subject to sex segregation, Sandelowski notes, nursing provides an ideal site in which to examine the interplay of technology and gender.