Linda Richards Contribution to Nursing Care

The nurse is the main person in charge of patient care in the US model of care. Needless to say, there were great women who contributed to reaching this level and pioneered the nursing care that the world knows today. This paper aims at considering Linda Richard’s contribution to modern nursing care, analyzing her achievements in the sphere, and making a conclusion about their significance for medicine today.

Born in 1841, Linda Richards began her career when nursing in the US was only emerging as a profession. In this country, care for the sick was traditionally a matter for family members, particularly women, until the 19th century, as other options were limited (Keeling et al., 2017). Throughout the Westward expansion, women took the caregiving responsibility under the brutal condition. During the American Civil War, care was primarily given by volunteers (Keeling et al., 2017). In her autobiography, Richards later wrote that her concern in caregiving appeared first during the Civil War when thousands of people needed urgent care (Richards, 2018). Thus, the war and epidemics revealed the glaring need for professionally skilled nurses. Many medical historians are almost unanimous in the opinion that the modern school of nursing originated during the Crimean War (1853-1856) (Scott & Thompson, 2019). It was organized by the English woman Florence Nightingale, whose name in the 21st century is known to all nurses on the planet.

Linda Richards advocated the women’s rights to be in occupation and struggled to give professional status to the work of her life. She is recognized as the first woman to graduate from Florence Nightingale’s nursing school in 1873 (Scott & Thompson, 2019). Nurse’s work at that time was far from actual patient care. According to Richard’s (2018) memoir, nursing represented disorganized performing of household chores: “there was the strangest division of labor; for instance, a nurse would begin a day by Washing poultice cloths and bandages” (p. 27). Willingness to see the hospitals a more organized place inspired Richards to introduce novelties in the nurse’s job. While working at Bellevue Hospital, she devised a system for keeping individual patients records in writing at the bedside, which was then adopted in the United States and the United Kingdom (Scott & Thompson, 2019). It should be noted that the system is still effective nowadays.

The woman was highly preoccupied with the absence of formal training procedures for nurses in the country. Realizing how little she knew about her profession, Linda Richards began filling in the gaps in her education and then passed on that knowledge to others by organizing several high-profile schools. Additionally, she was willing to educate her students to be as dedicated to patient care as she was. “The average nurse does not possess a very large amount of patience or tact – two essential qualities in the making of a good nurse,” she writes on the issue (Richards, 2018, p.110). Thus, Richards did a pioneer work in establishing nursing schools in and out of the country.

Linda Richards’ practice happened to start at tough times for medicine. However, she significantly contributed to nursing care’s progress with the new system of keeping records and educating students. Therefore, she became the one who determined today’s understanding of the profession: “Nursing can be described as both an art and a science; a heart and a mind” (American Nurses Association, n. d., para. 3). America’s first trained nurse created new opportunities for caretakers and shaped the modern understanding of the profession.

References

American Nurses Association. (n. d.). What is nursing? Web.

Keeling, A. W., Hehman, M. C., & Kirchgessner, J. C. (Eds.). (2017). History of professional nursing in the United States: Toward a culture of health. Springer Publishing Company.

Richards, L. (2018). Reminiscences of Linda Richards: America’s first trained nurse. Franklin Classics Trade Press.

Scott, B., & Thompson, M. (2019). Transitioning from RN to MSN: Principles of professional role development. Springer Publishing Company.