Healthcare and Nursing in the 1920s

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 3
Words: 640
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


Scientific knowledge in healthcare governed by proper conduct and ethical conduct forms an excellent nursing profession for better healthcare services. Unlike other professions, nursing entails self-governing and moral responsibility. Since 1920, Americans have witnessed several developments in the field of nursing. Moreover, this decade marked the period when medical researchers developed new vaccines for chronic diseases like tetanus and whooping cough.

Nevertheless, the roles of physicians and hospital administration staff did not spell out clearly, as it is today. During this decade, some hospital administrators joined hands to form an association named, American Hospital Association. This and many other nursing associations led to the establishment of a firm-nursing field that exists presently. (Radcliffe, 2000, pp.1084-1085).

Healthcare and Nursing in the 1920s

Perhaps the first landmark of nursing during the 1920s was the creation of a New Consortium to run proper healthcare services. Nursing, together with other healthcare associations within the healthcare industry, sought to have exceptional hospital services across the United States and Canada. For example, under this New Consortium, nurses and doctors created two institutions namely, the Service Bureau and the Hospital Library. These two institutions acted as information powerhouses to nurses and hospital administrators.

Additionally, in 1921, healthcare administrators established the first National Hospital Day. This day coincided with Florence Nightingale’s birthday thus identifying her contribution especially in the field of nursing. Moreover, the establishment of the first National Hospital Day has witnessed remarkable developments in the healthcare sector. For example, physicians and nurses now participate in budgeting healthcare finances thus, improving nursing services.

Healthcare Administration

The cost of treating various sicknesses was low as compared to today’s soaring Medicare costs. An article released in 1921 by the Public Health Service indicated that pharmaceutical companies and hospitals received $ 1.015 and $1.4 billion respectively, from patients all over the United States. Comparing these figures with the gross income per capita of the United States in the 1920s, at least every American citizen was able to afford healthcare costs without constraints. However, the expansion of healthcare services through emerging and technological innovations led to an increase in nursing costs. (Beazley, 2007, Para. 5-13).

In 1927, a problem arose between hospital superintendents and nurses concerning the work of nurses. Superintendents were responsible for the administration of hospitals and healthcare organizations. However, some physicians claimed that, since some superintendents were not healthcare professionals, they should not run hospitals or healthcare institutions. These nurses claimed that, since nursing, as a profession comprises kaleidoscopic experiences, nurses should lead health institutions for better nursing services. The implementation of this policy saw nurses and physicians take part in the management of healthcare institutions, determine their funding, and propose their new salaries.

Consequently, due to increased demand for nursing services, service costs also increased thus, attracting more players into the industry. This brought stiff competition over healthcare administration from different players leading to market healthcare insurance premiums. Insurance companies and employers took control of healthcare premiums subjecting those who cannot afford insurance premiums into jeopardy. Today, America is on the verge to adopt one player healthcare system, which will enable every American to afford healthcare services. Nevertheless, with the ongoing healthcare debate from supporters and critics of the system, the dream is far from its realization. (Beazley, 2007, Para. 14-27).


Many as the period in which the nursing profession and hospitals started, see the decade of 1920s as the one responsible for the development of today’s strong nursing field. This is because; colleges and universities admitted bright students to pursue nursing degrees for a period of between seven and ten years. Since then, there have been significant medical researches and better nursing services. In addition to this, physicians have developed new vaccines for treating numerous diseases. This decade forms the basis of nursing as a profession, and as a field in the healthcare industry.

Reference List

Beazley, S. (2007). Eight Decades of Health Care: The 1920s. Web.

Radcliffe, M. (2000). Doctors and nurses: new game same results. British Medical Journal, 320, 1084-1085.