Nursing school in the early 1930’s was a completely different place than it is now; virtually all U.S. nurses were women, it was not seen as a serious career objective, and one could actually be accused of being “too smart” for nursing school.
As the College of Nursing at Montana State celebrated its 75th anniversary this month, the school reflected back on the years it has invested in the nursing industry and how many things have changed at MSU specifically.
During the great depression, when MSU’s nursing school began classes, a career in nursing was viewed much differently than it is today. Nursing was also much less involved with patient outcomes and focused more on its namesake “nursing” an individual back to health through the directives of a more qualified doctor. And even though there are still some issues with authority between nurses and doctors in the modern era, most agree that the relationship is much more equally distributed than it was in earlier times.
In the distant history of nursing, dedicated school didn’t really exist – which is another reason MSU’s anniversary is so significant. Back then, this role was filled by either religious organizations (monasteries) and military personnel. Thanks to a well known advocate of the nursing profession in the 1800’s (Florence Nightingale), much of the way the world looked at the role of nursing has changed.
Flash forward to the modern age of nursing and we see that schools go to great lengths to prepare nurses for their role in healthcare: as analysts of patient conditions, the monitors of good healthcare, and the people we turn too when we generally feel “bad”. A single visit to a hospital will give you tenfold more face time with nurses than doctors; all because nursing schools and the profession evolved into an active role in healthcare.