This book recasts nursing history and places it in the context of women’s history, labor history, medical history, and sociology. Removed from the limited framework of professionalization, nursing history can provide a fresh perspective on broader issues in social history. First, it offers an illuminating example of the ways in which gender informs work and, conversely. How work reproduces and transforms relationships of power and inequality.
Second, the experience of nurses adds a new dimension to our understanding of work. More than a study of professionalization, nursing history is the story of women workers’ experience in a rationalizing service industry. Like other workers, nurses faced a fundamental reorganization of work that changed the content and experience of nursing. But unlike many others, they did not suffer a dilution of skill. The book also explores the shifting configurations of social relations on the job and their implications for nurses’ work.
Third, nurses’ history provides a useful standpoint for analyzing the possibilities and limitations of women’s work.
Finally, nursing history alerts us to the complexities of working women’s consciousness, countering the common notion of women’s passivity in the workplace.
The Physician’s Hand traces nursing history from the twenties to the seventies. It begins just after World War I when the "trained nurse" had gained a secure place in medical care but not yet found a niche in the hospital. Most worked in private duty. Chapter 1 outlines the theoretical framework of professionalization. Chapter 2 examines the history and culture of hospital schools, and the following chapters focus on the changing structure and experience of nursing in its three major settings: private duty nursing, public health care, and hospital work. The conclusion weighs the competing traditions of professionalization and occupational culture in nurses’ history and their meaning for the current crisis in nursing.
|Publisher:||Temple University Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||321 KB|
About the Author
Barbara Melosh is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has also worked as a nurse.
Table of ContentsCONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 “Not Merely a Profession”
CHAPTER 2 “A Charge to Keep”: Hospital Schools of Nursing, 1920–1950
I. In Pursuit of Professionalization
II. The Culture of Apprenticeship
III. College Degrees: The Haves and the Have-Nots
CHAPTER 3 The Freelance Nurse: Private Duty from 1920 to World War II
I. The Perils of Private Duty
II. The Search for Stability
III. Resolute Freelancers: Resistance on the Job
CHAPTER 4 Public-Health Nurses and the “Gospel of Health,” 1920–1955
I. “The Bond of a Common Purpose”: Origins and Ideology
II. “Nurse, Teacher, Counselor, and Friend”
III. “Every Nurse a Public Health Nurse”
CHAPTER 5 On the Ward: Hospital Nurses since 1930
I. The Hospital in Transition
II. The Stopwatch, the Efficiency Expert, and the Nurse
III. Hospital Work and the Redefinition of Skill
IV. Staff Nurses in Revolt