In Honor of Nurses Week – The Stethoscope: A Tool of Nurses’ Trade since the 1930s

By Lydia Wytenbroek, York University 

Last September, the Miss America competition’s talent portion featured Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado, a registered nurse, who appeared on stage wearing nurses’ scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. Johnson’s talent was delivery of a monologue about her experience caring for Joe, a patient with Alzheimer ’s disease. In a competition where the majority of contestants choose to enact a song or dance, Johnson’s performance stood out as unique. But it was comments made about Johnson’s monologue the following day by the co-hosts of ABC’s The View which hurled Johnson, and the nursing profession, into the public spotlight. Continue reading

Are Women Really Qualified for That? 100 Years Ago, Army Nurses Faced Similar Doubts

By Marian Moser Jones, PhD

The U.S. debate over the integration of women into military combat roles, recently reignited by the Army’s April 15th announcement that it has selected 22 women as infantry officers, may seem to be covering new territory in the gender wars. But underlying the debate is an enduring question that resurfaces again and again in widely different contexts: are women really qualified for that?

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It’s a Small World: Lessons from Ebola and MERS

CDC mock Ebola Treatment Unit (photo credit: Cleopatra Adedeji)

By Emma MacAllister, BSN

The most recent Ebola outbreak all began in West Africa with one 18-month-old boy in the remote village of Meliandou, Guinea. From there the outbreak exploded into a global crisis that claimed over 11,000 lives worldwide and counting. An inability to halt the virus’ spread left health officials alarmed. Yet, in the Fall of last year, experts in the United States were confident in the nation’s health system’s ability to control an outbreak if Ebola crossed our borders.  We possessed the ability, resources and technology to effectively treat the ill and stop the virus in its tracks.  This attitude proved overoptimistic.

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The Affordable Care Act and States’ wrong (The Public’s Health)

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Image Courtesy of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.

July 30th marks the 50-year anniversary of the signing into law, by President Lyndon Johnson the Medicare and Medicaid legislation; legislation which profoundly opened up health care access to millions of Americans. Before we celebrate too loudly about this singular achievement which has improved the lives of our citizens both young and old, let’s remember that there are still many Americans left without adequate access to health care.

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Superheroes in Scrubs: Depictions of Nurses in Comics

Nurses and Comics Featured Image

By Jessica Clark, MA

It’s that time of year again where comic book fans from across the globe descend upon San Diego for Comic-Con International, the famed comic book convention.  As the Bates Center’s Pinterest page illustrates, the nursing profession has been depicted in various comics and graphic novels. From Wonder Woman to Jane Foster to Night Nurse, here are some of the most well-known depictions of nursing in comic books.

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Special Commentary: Obamacare is Here to Stay, But What About the Nurses?

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.

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Asking the same questions: Premature infant care and the survival of the smallest

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.

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