President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden (Getty Images)
With the Supreme Court ruling last week, the President announced definitively that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to stay and advised that now is the time to get back to work. One aspect of “getting back to work” is ensuring that our health care system functions at its highest level as the ACA continues to do its job of providing access to care for millions of once uninsured and underinsured Americans. A critical hallmark of a functioning modern health care system is the reliable delivery of professional nursing care. What history shows is that the perplexing and enduring problem of nurse shortages have frequently left the nation’s health care system compromised.
Duchess Kate and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge made headlines when choosing to use midwives (Pictured right: Arona Ahmed and Jacqui Dunkley Bent)
by William F. McCool, PhD, CNM, RN, FACNM
Childbirth is the strong basis by which all species continue to exist, and for human beings it is most often a demanding, yet healthy journey. Over the millennia, mothers have given birth with the support of fellow women who learned the strength and willpower that laboring brings. These supportive caregivers have had several titles throughout history, but the most common of these is “midwives.”
Philadelphia General Hospital nursing staff, circa 1895. Image courtesy of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.
By Briana Ralston, PhD
A recent New York Times article stated:
“A small number of very premature babies are surviving earlier outside the womb than doctors once thought possible, a new study has documented, raising questions about how aggressively they should be treated…”
Though this statement was made regarding present studies, it could have easily been published 40 years ago during the early years of neonatal intensive care in the United States. Indeed, our current fascination with saving sick babies is not a recent phenomenon, but one whose roots sink back over the past century.