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Black and white photograph of a nurse working in 1930s dental surgery
Nurse working in a dental surgery, c. 1939.

Origins and influences

The professional image of nurses and nursing is inextricably linked to the prevailing status of women and to the cultural context in which the role operates.

When reflecting on the present-day image of nursing, we should also explore the history of the profession.

In the 19th century, across much of the world nursing was dominated by:

  • women

  • people with religious and charitable aims, and

  • the medical profession (male doctors).

Your task

Share your opinions of the professional image of nursing, based on your experiences in your home country.


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This article is from the free online course:

Nursing in Crisis? Exploring Current Challenges

Coventry University

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