How the History of Practical Nurse’s Influence Healthcare Today

Topics: Health Care

The introduction of practical nurses has changed healthcare drastically. They are now given the recognition they deserve as being a vital role in a healthcare team. Before, nursing was never recognized as a profession, but more of a calling. Until the 1800s when the first school of nursing was established, and Florence Nightingale is the most famous practical nurse and advocate for nursing through her hard work and efforts made doctors realize that they need nurses working with them to help relieve the pressure of patients.

Also, having people that are educated in health and illness, rather than just caregivers was a turning point making nursing develop into something more advanced in knowledge and scientifically based through later years.

History of Nursing

Nursing is one of the oldest arts and it has evolved from caregiving and nurturing of the sick to a scientifically based profession. Some of nursing’s early responsibilities were women assisting in childbirth, suckling newborns, ministering to the ill, aged, and helpless in the home or surrounding communities.

“Its hallmark was carrying more than curing” (Timby, 2017). Until the 1800s when the first school of nursing was established in Kaiserswerth, Germany, where a woman named Florence Nightingale left her wealthy family to enroll in nursing school, which at the time was looked at as a downgrade because nurses did not make a lot of money. Nightingale announced to her family that she was called by God to become a nurse, and as she began to work hard after graduation, she became famous in her community so much so that the she was asked for her services during the Crimean War.

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She agreed to help with one condition, she asked the Secretary of War to allow her to train women to care for the wounded and sick (Williams, 2018). Thus giving birth to the practical nurse, she insisted that a clean environment, good ventilation, nutrition, and sanitation were all vital roles in improving health. With her efforts and the 38 nurses she trained, they lowered the death rate during the Crimean War from 60% to 1% (Williams, 2018). Which changed the view of nursing forever because now the doctors and the public can see how implementation of nurses in healthcare can save many more lives.

Future of Practical Nursing and My Role

After Nightingale there were many more nurses that became famous as well and spread the knowledge to the United States. More and more nursing schools were being established in the U.S. The more nursing got recognized the more advanced the educational programs got. Now with the promotion of evidence based practice in nursing the program went from being completed in months to now taking years and receiving a diploma (Knecht, 2017). Upon graduation it was also established that nurses had to take a licensure exam to be able to practice, therefore establishing titles to now be called licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurses (Knecht, 2017). Also one of the main parts of nursing has been always to continue education in order to adapt to changes in healthcare. Helping establish levels of nursing where now you can further your knowledge and have more responsibilities, Registered nurses go to school a little over one year, more than LPN/LVNs and have a larger scope of practice because they have been trained longer to do so (Knecht, 2017).

Furthering my education is important to me as well, I think practical nursing is a good entry level into nursing because it is more about the basic principles of patient care that are still valid today, and it is also more hands on. Later on I will be able to add admission and discharge, sharper nursing process skills, as well as other hands on skills to my scope of practice. My role now is to become well educated in practical nursing so that I can pass my licensure exam and become a well-rounded nurse.


In conclusion nursing has changed dramatically over the years from being just caretakers and nurturers to now having a professional role in the healthcare system. Florence Nightingale has had a big impact in nursing, she established our curriculum of how nutrition, sanitation, and good ventilation helped improve the condition of the sick. Because of her efforts and the efforts of other hard working nurses we have gotten our recognition and have made it possible for me and the others before me to gain the knowledge we need to be able to practice patient care in a safe and effective way. Also giving me the tools to continue my education and higher degrees in nursing.


  1. Knecht, P. (2017). Success in practical/vocational nursing: from student to leader (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
  2. Timby, B. K. (2017). Fundamental nursing skills and concepts (11th Ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.
  3. Williams, P., & O’Neill, P. A. (2018). DeWit’s fundamental concepts and skills for nursing (5th Ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

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How the History of Practical Nurse’s Influence Healthcare Today. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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