Nursing in the Beginning of 16th Century
Exploration and Expansion of Knowledge
The 16th century was an era of Enlightenment characterized by extensive exploration and expansion of knowledge that provided a new source of wealth. Although, other disciplines expanded significantly, the nursing profession and practice suffered a major drawback. During the era, nursing lost most of its economic support and social status because the society failed to value the discipline as an intellectual endeavor. Therefore, the nursing discipline lagged behind as other intellectual field experienced remarkable expansion of knowledge. Secondly, the fight stuck between the church and the state was at its peak during this era. After the struggle, the state emerged with more authority over the church, which managed most hospitals while providing nursing care to the sick and the poor. The restrictions imposed by the state, for instance nursing practicing licenses and closure of some churches, significantly affected nursing operations. At that time, women dominated the nursing career. The Protestant Reformations during the period resulted into the closure of hospitals, as the home ware perceived to be the place of a woman. Nursing practices was limited at the household level, where the women took care of the sick, the elderly, and children. For instance, in 1545, the Council of Trent had issued a decree directing every community of women, such as the nursing sisters of France, to live in enclosed environments, mainly within the household level (Johnson, 2008, p. 41).
These events resulted in the deterioration of sanitary conditions in hospitals, turning the once places of healing and care into sources of epidemic outbreaks. Once again, there was need for more trained nurses who could bring the situation under control. The situation led to the emergence of several nursing groups that attended the sick, the poor, and the dying in the late 1500s, for instance, the Sisters of Charity, the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John, and the St. Francis de Sales. In the present day America, a Mexican named Friar Juan de Mena became the first recognized nurse in the land around the year 1550. Men and women nurses provided care strictly to persons of the same gender.
Johnson, P. (2008). The foundations of nursing: History of nursing nutrition and diet therapy microbiology. New Delhi: BI Publications. Retrieved from: http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=MwSvARy_ducC&pg=PA41&dq=In+1545+the+council+of+Trent+decree+nursing&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yhVNU_XINKPB7AbFzYAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=In%201545%20the%20council%20of%20Trent%20decree%20nursing&f=false