Nursing History by Olson and Reverby Writers

NursingHistory by Olson and Reverby Writers

Q1.Reverby’s ideas about women

SusanReverby, a historian of American health care, discusses about women’shealth, as well as women as health professionals and workers in hisbook “Ordered to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing, 1850-1945.”In this book, she discusses the history of nursing development as thehealth-care system also change. Initially, women nurses were known tocreate their own “little world of their own.” Reverby states,“Female nurses were forced into an overcrowded, sex-segregatedlabor market” (p.3).Unfortunately, women were discriminated based on their classes,ethnic origins, race, and contended for the title of a nurse. At onetime in their lifetime, women would spend their time taking care oftheir ailing relatives or friends. At this time, nursing remainedwomen’s duty, but not a job. However, as time passed by, the natureof nursing gradually changed and women would be paid for their work.

Reverbyargues that female nurses opt to be treated equally as their malecounterparts. She is against how people advocates for the nursingschools. She believes (p.48) that the training programmes wereregarded as “social incubators” to create obedient and moralworkforce where the nurses were expected to become “apprenticeshipto duty.” By the nineteenth century, nursing emerged as a formalurban marketplace. However, professional female nurses would performsimilar as a family member, unlike a hired male nurse. Nevertheless,throughout the same century, (p.12) states “nursing remainedprimarily the work of the white, native-born, poor, and the olderwomen.” Nurses would be separated from domestic servants on thebases of age, marital status, class, race, or even nativity.

Q2.Reverby and Olson views on caring

BothReverby and Olson have the same view of caring. They both agree, “Itis the common link to caring that brings nurses together.” Further,Olson states that “care form the basic core of nursing actions.”On the other hand, (p.1) believes that caring is both a material andemotional activity. It has a great impact in regardless of who thepatient is and what he or she does. For this duality, (p.1) urgesthat “caring is an unbounded act, difficult to define, and well ashard to control.” However, Olsen challenges tradition nature ofcaring, arguing that caring is not the only responsibility of anurse. He gives an example of St. Luke nurses who valued skills,experience, occupational loyalty, and their strengths (p.79). Thefemale nurses focus on the apprenticeship training and practicalrather than on the academics concerns. They believe that nursing is ademanding occupation that requires them to handle, manage, controlpatients, and at the end, present a neat product.

Q3.Problems in nursing today and the ideas of solving them

Accordingto Olson and Reverby, nursing is facing many problems today. Firstly,there is no clear definition of the exact requirement for the safeand competent nursing. Olson evaluates entry into nursing practice asan opening scene of a lengthy drama. He still has some unansweredquestions. For instance, he fails to understand “what is nursing?”he gives an example of St. Luke’s nurses who are uncertain aboutthe nature of nursing. The majority of today’s nurses are heir ofthe St. Luke. Similarly, Reverby see a dilemma in caring since thenursing community cannot create a valued conditions (p.7).Most communities view nursing as the woman duty to her family and thesociety. However, Reverby urges that nursing is everyoneresponsibility. Olson believes this problem can be solved througheducation. He states “academics are the key to solving nursing’sabiding crises” (p.94). Research shows that although there are morethan two million nurses, only thirty-two percent possesbaccalaureate, nine percent posses master’s degree, while only onepercent posses a doctorate.


Reverby,S. (1987).&nbspOrderedto care: The dilemma of American nursing, 1850-1945.Cambridge [Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press.