The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit: (1) to identify one major milestone in the development of nursing profession; and (2) to delineate and describe the significance of the identified milestone in the development of nursing as a profession.
The achievement of professional nurse autonomy is one of the major milestones that had influenced the development of nursing profession and practice. Holland (1999) defines professional nurse autonomy as the nurse perceived latitude or willingness to act as a responsible professional, independent from medical profession but interdependent to allied-health professions (p. 311).
The traditional view of professional autonomy differs among gender. It had been evident during the time of Nightingale and the Crimean War where medical professionals rejected at first the offer of Florence Nightingale to help because of gender and professional prejudices. Male has been viewed as the dominant gender and doctors were superior to the nurses, limiting suggestions and decisions made by a nurse. Physicians viewed that collaborative care was only between physicians and clients and nurses are treated like servantsthan a powerful healer. But urgency of the circumstances had led the physician to accept the help of Florence Nightingale and 38 other nurses. Through Nightingale’s help, it was not only professional recognition of female nurses that has been achieved but the formal nursing education programs, reorganization, and advancement of professional nursing (Cherry & Jacob, 2011, 10). In addition, nurses were often oppressed and salaries were not sufficient during the 1970s thus, nurses strive for economic stability and to the methods and ideals of science to gain professional recognition, equality, status, and rightful acceptance not only from the medical professions but also from the general public.
Nursing has evolved from an indistinct, gender-biased, and physician-dependent profession to a notable field with independent nurse practitioners, both male and female in the health care arena. The struggles made by Nightingale addressed the need for nursing to be established as a profession, free from gender discrimination and separate ...
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