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Introduction to Public Health Nursing

Florence Nightingale

  • the pioneer of the nursing profession, once said: “I use the word nursing for want of a better. It has been limited to signify little more than the administration of medicines and the application of poultices. It ought to signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet-all at the least expense of vital power to the patient.”

The Role of Nurses

  • For the general well-being of communities and individuals, healthy lifestyle, diet, and sanitation is very important.  Nurses have a very important role to play in helping communities prevent diseases and stay healthy

Public Health

  • Public health is the study of epidemiology, statistics and assessment, factors of behavior and culture, finance, and program planning and policy development 

History of Public Health Nursing

  • 1800 – Early Nursing
    • The nurses who worked in the early hospitals and alms houses in Great Britain were not trained properly
  • 1800 – Improving the Quality of Nursing
    • During the eighteenth century, as the practice of medicine became difficult, physicians and hospital administrators desired to improve the quality of nursing services
  • 1800 – The industrial Revolution
    • During the 19th Century, the industrial revolution led to many social changes in Europe
  • 1859 – Training
    • Florence Nightingale worked towards the training program for nurses.  In 1859, British philanthropist William Rathbone established the first district nursing association in Liverpool, England.
  • 1885 & 1886 – Visiting Nurses
    • During 1885 and 1886, visiting nurse associations were established in many places.  The first trained nurse in the United States who was paid as a visiting nurse was Francis Root
  •  1909 – Insurance Programs
    • In 1909, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company established the first insurance -based program using visiting nurse organizations to provide care for sick policyholders.
  •  1909 – Rural Home Nursing Care
    • The American Red Cross, through its Rural Nursing Service, started home nursing care in the areas outside large cities.
  • 1912 – NOPHN
    • In 1912, the National Organization for Publich Health, or N-O-P-H-N, was established to change the educational and service standards of the public health nurses, and promote public understanding and respect for their work.
  • 1925 – Frontier Nursing Service
    • In 1912 Mary Breckinridge established the Frontier Nursing Service, or the F-N-S, to provide rural health care.
  • 1930-1965 – Health Insurance Expands
    • Between 1930 and 1965, nursing and community health nursing agencies introduced health insurance reimbursements for nursing care at home.
  • 1966 – Medicare and Medicaid
    • The support community-based nursing care, the medicare and Medicaid programs were implemented in 1966.
  • 1985 – NCNR Established
    • In 1985, the National Center for Nursing Research, or N-C-N-R, was established within the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C, indicating the growth in nursing research since the 1950s.
  • 1988 – Institute of Medicine Report
    • In 1988, Institute of Medicine (IOM) report addressed the decreased political support, financing, and public health services at national, state, and local levels.
  • 1990 – Reduced Federal Funding
    • In the late 1990s, changes in federal policy reduced financial support for home health care services.
  • 2003 – HIPAA
    • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, introduced in 2003, proved to be an important one for healthcare and public health.  It emphasized the protection of patient’s medical records and other  health information provided to health plans, physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers.  


Public Health and Nursing

  • The history of nursing evokes inspiration in people to serve the diverse needs of the populations.





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Nursing 340 – Public Health Nursing 

1. Introduction to Public Health Nursing