Considerable controversy exists at the state and national level both within and among the professions of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy concerning the issue of granting and/or expanding the privilege of prescription to nurses. Arlene W. Keeling identifies and describes the informal and formal roles nurses played over the course of the twentieth century in dispensing, furnishing, and prescribing medications. The book is built around a series of case studies representing diverse geographic areas of the United States during different decades. The major thesis of Nursing and the Privilege of Prescription, 1893-2000 is that the amount of freedom nurses have had with regard to medications has been dependent on the particular setting in which they practiced, on individual practice negotiations between physicians and nurses at the grassroots level, and on the level of trust that developed between them. Even before they had legal prescriptive authority, nurses safely and effectively administered drugs at various times and places throughout the century. Providing care in underserved areas of the country-in urban slums, in the remote hollows of Appalachia, and on Indian reservations-nurses offered access to care for many who would otherwise have been denied it. The struggle between organized medicine and nursing over where, to whom, and in what circumstances a practitioner is licensed to dispense, furnish, or prescribe drugs is the central tension of the book. What is clear throughout this history is that the "elusive and fine line" between medicine and nursing is fluid, especially in times and places where nurses are particularly needed. Nursing and the Privilege of Prescription, 1893-2000 provides historical data that could inform health policy today.
About the Author
Arlene W. Keeling is the Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing, Director, the Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, and Director, the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Virginia, School of Nursing.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
List of Abbreviations xi
Midway between the Pharmacist and the Physician: The Work of the Henry Street Settlement Visiting Nurses, 1893-1944 1
Practicing Medicine without a License? Nurse Anesthetists, 1900-1938 28
Providing Care in the "Hoot Owl Hollers": Nursing, Medicine, and the Law in the Frontier Nursing Service, 1925-1950 49
"My Treatment Was Castor Oil and Aspirin": Field Nursing among the Navajo in the Four Corners Region, 1925-1955 72
Verbal Orders and Hospital Nursing: Expanding Nurses' Scope of Practice in the Mid-Twentieth Century 97
Nurse Practitioners and the Prescription Pad, 1965-1980 121
Prescriptive Authority for Advanced Practice Nurses, 1980-2000 138
Conclusion: Toward a More Equitable System of Health Care 156
Select Bibliography 197