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

The Pope and the Sisters

As Philadelphia buzzes with excitement for Pope Francis’ visit, we take a look at the historical role of religious sister nurses in providing healthcare globally.

Barbra Mann Wall, PhD, RN, FAAN

This week, Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia to participate in the World Meeting of Families, a Catholic gathering begun by Saint John Paul II in 1994. Catholics from all over the world are attending, and prominent among them will be a large contingent of Catholic sisters for whom the Pope’s message resonates for the work in which they have engaged over decades.

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Why Community Health Centers Are a Lifeline for Primary Care

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By Patricia D’Antonio, PhD, RN, FAAN

On August 19th, the Editorial Board of the New York Times noted the Obama administration’s commitment to expanding community health centers and stabilizing the funding streams that support the salaries of the doctors “and other health professionals” who work to bring high quality primary care to poor urban neighborhoods and isolated rural ones. These health centers are indeed a lifeline for so many individuals, families, and communities. But they have a history that pre-dates federal involvement either through President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty or President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

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Midwifery Goes Mainstream

Princess Kate and Prince William made headlines when choosing to use midwives (Pictured right: Arona Ahmed and Jacqui Dunkley Bent)

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.”

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Reminder: First Measey Colloquium September 27th!

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Dr. George E. Pfahler, Nellie McAvoy ’02 and Nurse, Play Acting-Receiving Ward, c.1902 Alumni Association of the Philadelphia General Hospital School of Nursing Image Collection, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Please remember to register for our first colloquium Professionalizing Nursing and Medicine: The Early Years. The event will be held Saturday, September 27th from 10am-3pm at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Registration is free but required and includes lunch.

Register here!

Links to the History of Nursing and Medicine in Philadelphia

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Anna Ingram, PGH ’02 and Five Physicians, c.1903. Alumni Association of the Philadelphia General Hospital School of Nursing Image Collection, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania

Interested in the history of nursing and medicine in Philadelphia? Check out these links to local institutions with archives, collections and events related to our city’s rich history.

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