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Ancient history[ edit ] The early history of nurses suffers from a lack of source material, but nursing in general has long been an extension of the wet-nurse function of women.
Ashoka erected a series of pillarswhich included an edict ordering hospitals to be built along the routes of travelers, and that they be "well provided with instruments and medicine, consisting of mineral and vegetable drugs, with roots and fruits"; "Whenever there is no provision of drugs, medical roots, and herbs, they are to be supplied, and skilful physicians appointed at the expense of the state to administer them.
The first known Christian nurse, Phoebeis mentioned in Romans During the early years of the Christian Church ca. Paul sent a deaconess named Phoebe to Rome as the first visiting nurse. Priests were often also physicians. According to the historian Geoffrey Blaineywhile pagan religions seldom offered help to the infirm, the early Christians were willing to nurse the sick and take food to them, notably during the smallpox epidemic of AD and the measles outbreak of around AD ; "In nursing the sick and dying, regardless of religion, the Christians won friends and sympathisers".
Among the earliest were those built ca. Basil's hospital resembled a city, and included housing for doctors and nurses and separate buildings for various classes of patients. Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of systematic nursing and hospitals after the end of the persecution of the early church.
Benedict of Nursia emphasized medicine as an aid to the provision of hospitality. Thus in-patient medical care in the sense of what we today consider a hospital, was an invention driven by Christian mercy and Byzantine innovation.
By the twelfth century, Constantinople had two well-organized hospitals, staffed by doctors who were both male and female.
Facilities included systematic treatment procedures and specialized wards for various diseases. A contemporary of Muhammad, she hailed from the Bani Aslam tribe in Medina and learned her medical skills from her father, a traditional healer. After she had lead a group of women to treat injured fighters on the battlefield, Muhammad gave her permission to set up a tent near the Medina mosque to provide treatment and care for the ill and the needy.
They were religious communities, with care provided by monks and nuns. Some hospitals were multi-functional while others were founded for specific purposes such as leper hospitals, or as refuges for the poor, or for pilgrims: The hospital's endowment consisted of farms to feed its patients and guests.
From the account given by Paul the Deacon we learn that this hospital was supplied with physicians and nurses, whose mission included the care the sick wherever they were found, "slave or free, Christian or Jew.
The famous Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, founded inset the example which was widely imitated throughout France and Germany. Besides its infirmary for the religious, each monastery had a hospital in which externs were cared for. These were in charge of the eleemosynarius, whose duties, carefully prescribed by the rule, included every sort of service that the visitor or patient could require.
As the eleemosynarius was obliged to seek out the sick and needy in the neighborhood, each monastery became a center for the relief of suffering. No less efficient was the work done by the diocesan clergy in accordance with the disciplinary enactments of the councils of Aachen, which prescribed that a hospital should be maintained in connection with each collegiate church.
The canons were obliged to contribute towards the support of the hospital, and one of their number had charge of the inmates. As these hospitals were located in cities, more numerous demands were made upon them than upon those attached to the monasteries. In this movement the bishop naturally took the lead, hence the hospitals founded by Heribert died in Cologne, Godard died in Hildesheim, Conrad died in Constance, and Ulrich died in Augsburg.
But similar provision was made by the other churches; thus at Trier the hospitals of St. James took their names from the churches to which they were attached. During the period — no less than hospitals were founded in Germany. Big Housein Milannorthern Italy, was constructed to house one of the first community hospitals, the largest such undertaking of the fifteenth century.
Commissioned by Francesco Sforza in and designed by Antonio Filarete it is among the first examples of Renaissance architecture in Lombardy. The Normans brought their hospital system along when they conquered England in By merging with traditional land-tenure and customs, the new charitable houses became popular and were distinct from both English monasteries and French hospitals.
They dispensed alms and some medicine, and were generously endowed by the nobility and gentry who counted on them for spiritual rewards after death. It supplied food to the population during famine and distributed food to the poor. This welfare system the church funded through collecting taxes on a large scale and possessing large farmlands and estates.
Nursing was a religious role for the nurse, and there was little call for science.View all posts in this series.
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