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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What Would Florence Nightingale Do (WWFND)?: Nightingale and 21st Century Health Care Reform

WhatWouldNIghtingaleDo?

Editors’ Note: The mythology surrounding Florence Nightingale has often ignored or glossed over her role as an innovative applied statistician. Nightingale was doing sophisticated polar graph charts and thought experiments before think tanks and blogs existed. As we wrap up this year’s National Nurses Week and celebrate Nightingale’s 195th birthday, we thought it would be a good idea to look at how Nightingale would approach our modern health care issues. What follows is a fascinating scenario from Nurse and Mathematician Thomas Cox which positions Nightingale in the 21st century to make sense of our current healthcare reforms in the US.

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3 Archival Principles for Emails

archival principles graphic

The following blog entry is the first in a series exploring archival issues of relevance from both historical and contemporary perspectives. For more information about the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing’s archives and collections, please visit our website at http://www.nursing.upenn.edu/history

 By Tiffany Hope Collier & Jessica Clark

It seems we can’t avoid discussing emails these days.  The last few months have seen both a movie studio executive and a Veteran Affairs administrator lose their jobs for mocking and ridiculing people in emails they assumed were private. Continue reading

5 Myths of Gerontological Nursing

Gerontology nurse with patient at bedside, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1972. Image courtesy of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.


Sarah H. Kagan PhD, RN

We live in the age of aging. Unprecedented longevity juxtaposed against declining birth rates means the older population is expanding  at rates we have never encountered before.   Aging defined in positive terms – “healthy aging” anyone? – is increasingly popular. But discussing realities like health care is far different.

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3 Nurses to Celebrate During Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time where we highlight the contributions of women to society. Comprising the largest health care profession, the vast majority of nurses (93%) are women making it highly appropriate to end Women’s History Month with a look at three nurses of historical note.

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Pay Inequity in Nursing is Nothing New: A Special Commentary

Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing for Men, Class of 1924. Image Source: Pennsylvania Archives

“Male nurses are found to earn about $5,000 more than female colleagues.” (Not quite) shocking news! A recently released JAMA study, hitting numerous airwaves and media outlets found significant pay discrepancies between nurses who are female and nurses who are male. How could this happen in the most female (women make up about 93% of all nurses) profession? The study did not address reasons why pay inequity exists in nursing, yet, reports on the results offered some hypotheses. One of the study’s investigators suggested that men may negotiate better (Ouch, that rationale literally hurts!) or that women experience a tougher time getting promoted. Investigators plan to carry out additional research focusing on explanations for pay gaps in nursing.

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Nursing on the Frontlines of PTSD Treatment

Now more than ever, nurses are consistently exposed to the impact of mental illness in all aspects of patient care.By Kylie Smith, PhD

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex mental health disorder that affects up to 7% of the population, and as much as 17% of returned service personnel from combat zones. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines PTSD broadly as a cluster of four distinct symptoms: re-experiencing, negative alterations in cognition and mood, avoidance, and hyperarousal. The DSM also notes that PTSD may or may not be co-morbid with other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or suicide.

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