Highlights in Nursing History

Highlights in Nursing History

Nursing has been around for as long as people have tried to take care of one another when someone was ill or injured.

It might not have always been called “nursing,” but the basic concept has existed for centuries. The profession of nursing arose around the same time that practiced medicine did. Let us take a look at some of the highlights in nursing history.

Early 1900’s


In 1900, the very first issue of the American Journal of Nursing was distributed. Scholarly journals lend credence to professions, so a journal dedicated to nursing and the nursing profession was a major milestone.

We take school nurses for granted. Schools did not have their own nurses until Linda L. Rogers became the first on-staff school nurse in 1902.

In 1913, the Red Cross accepted enrollment for reserve for Army Nurse Corps and Navy Nurse Corps, approved by the War Department. The Army School of Nursing class of 1921 was the first class to graduate from the new Army nursing program. There were 512 nurses in the Army School of Nursing.

Diversity in nursing was important. The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses established its headquarters in New York City in 1934. Male nurses got a section in the American Nurses Association in 1940.


Later 20th Century


By 1967, the United States has an estimated 640,000 Registered Nurses practicing nursing. That number jumps to 815,000 by 1973. Nurses were in high demand, and becoming a nurse was a desired career goal for many women and men.

The American Nurses Association recommended AIDS treatment and testing programs and community-based health services in 1987 during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Nurses were on the frontlines to help AIDS patients in their communities.

In 1995, nurses protested the nursing cutbacks and the improper use of unlicensed personnel. There were 25,000 nurses from all over the country who protested. And on September 11, 2001, nurses played an integral role in the treatment of victims from the terrorist attack. The relief efforts would not have been as successful without these nurses.


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