Nuns and lay women have been helping to care for the sick even before the time of Florence Nightingale. It is only during her time that the first nursing school was established. Nursing thus became a profession. Coupled with Nightingales belief and fact that society has dictated women to care for the injured soldiers has cemented the nursing profession as a profession for women. This designation of the profession as "only for women" has changed over time. The three pictures of groups of nurses presented, depicts nurses over a vast period of time, will attest to this.
The first is a picture of six nurses taken during Florence Nightingales time. The women are dressed all in white long gowns with what appears to be a nursing cap on their heads. The cap is quite larger than the common white nursing caps worn by nursing students of today. They look very neat with their hair fastened away from the face and tucked underneath their caps. Their white gowns cover their bodies and arms provide protection from contamination and also prevent them from coming into skin contact with their patients. Their gowns are all starched up seeing that it does not follow the contour of the body also serves to prevent dirt from sticking to it. They do not wear jewelry as this might only get in the way as they move about their business. Their faces bearing a serious and yet small smile shows that they mean business. They are ready to do their task. Not one wears a big smile probably because during their time women were supposed to be meek and reserved. The head held high and eyes looking straight at the camera shows confidence. They epitomize Florence Nightingales' Nurse as clean, neat, formal, confident, and competent. The picture also shows the bond that these women have. The way they are seated, with the women on the floor having their arm and elbow on the lap of the woman seated behind them and with the woman at the back sitting forward and placing her hands at the back of each nurse seated at her front shows the relation of togetherness at work and in service. The picture also shows that age is not an impediment to service. The picture shows women of varying ages. This disparity in ages is further emphasized for the youngest nurse, the one wearing a different headdress was made to sit beside the oldest nurse in the picture (2nd row extreme right of the picture).
The second picture are the nurses of the late ninety's. It shows three women nurses and three doctors. The nurses are in scrub suits while two doctors are in doctors gowns and another has a stethoscope hanging around his neck. The ratio of doctors against nurses in the picture can be interpreted to show equal importance. Both are equally important in the field of caring and nursing a sick patient to good health. The nurses in the picture are easily identifiable by the scrub suits they are wearing. They are no longer encumbered with the lengthy, up to the neck and long sleeved gowns. They can move with ease and are more comfortable. Although no longer sporting the traditional white long gowns, they are as clean as ever with the help of