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The Evolution of Nursing

Nursing in the Year 1950 vs Nursing Today

You don’t need an expert to tell you that there is a big difference between nursing in the year 1950 vs nursing today. Today more men are entering the profession as compared to the 1950s where nursing was only meant for women. However, there is still a gender pay difference among male and females. There has also been a diversity within the field of nursing. In the 1950s most of the hospitals were divided by colour. There was a National Black Nurses Association meant for only black nurses. 

How is Nursing Different Today?

There has been a more efficient way of record keeping as the United States government allocated funds for the use of electronic health record keeping. As for 1950s people would use files and a lot of paperwork. In the 1950s nurses had to take care of patients for much longer periods. A patient would even stay in hospital for weeks but today, service personnel has increased so a patient will even leave the hospital the day of the surgery.  

  1.     Use of Scrubs

Nurses wear scrubs which usually consist of a shirt and pants. These scrubs help the public be able to identify the nurses. In the 1950s they used to wear white dresses with stockings and a cap. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, an organisation that performs national testing never used to exist until 1978. 

  1.     More Skilled Nurses

Today, nursing requires extensive training and education unlike in the 1950s where nurses would acquire skills from other experienced nurses. They received less formal education than they do today. Nurses were also expected to carry out orders without asking questions but today, there is room for consultation and explanation.

  1.     Recognition from Doctors

Doctors used to treat nurses as assistants and caregivers instead of treating them as respected medical professionals, according to

  1.     Global Recognition of Nurses

There is Nurses’ Appreciation Week, which is from May 6th to 12th, that recognizes the important roles nurses and nursing staff perform around the world. Such an event for appreciating nurses did not exist in the 1950s.


The Children’s Hospital School of Nursing, specializing in paediatrics, was established to offer a 3years professional nursing course and prepare women to qualify for any field of nursing after graduation. Nursing schools would not accept married women and would end their training for nurses who got married or became pregnant.

In the 1950s, women who joined the 3years nursing training program at Children’s Hospital paid no fees, but were expected to pay a government registration fee. Nursing students lived in the nurses’ residences throughout their three years of training. Course examination results were sent to parents who were required to sign and take back the forms to the nursing school. 

The committee of the Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses released a report which stated the reasons why the province was unable to recruit and retain enough nurses in 1950. These reasons included: long hours, low salaries, poor living conditions, very few holidays and instability. Nurses would walk off their jobs and strike for better wages but instead they were fired and replaced by former nurses who had left the profession because of getting married.

There definitely is a big difference between nursing in the year 1950 vs nursing today. The best thing about all this is the ever-growing demand and appreciation of nurses globally. This sees to it that their needs and professional comfort are prioritized. If you would like to learn more about the perks that come with nursing, feel free to read more from skilled nursing writers at

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