On Duty

On Duty: Power, Politics, and the History of Nursing in New Jersey

Frances Ward
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 330
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hj0h6
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  • Book Info
    On Duty
    Book Description:

    In 1886, Newark City Hospital opened a training school for nurses in New Jersey. With the dawn of a new century women began to demand rights that had been denied them, and nurses too demanded changes in health care and higher education. For the first time, On Duty offers a highly readable account of the struggle for professional autonomy by New Jersey nurses and reveals how their political and legislative battles mirrored the struggle of women throughout the country to redefine their roles in society.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4709-1
    Subjects: Health Sciences, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    On Wednesday, July 11, 2007, my undergraduate nursing students and I conducted a health fair at the Camden Community Health Center. Our focus: the illnesses that most commonly plague city residents—hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, anemia, and high cholesterol. Many people were screened that day. Some were employed but uninsured; others were unemployed without health insurance. Undocumented migrant workers looked to us to meet their health needs.

    Forty years earlier, I was preparing to enter my senior year in high school, anxious to apply to Rutgers University in Newark as a first-year student in the Bachelor of Science program in...

  5. CHAPTER 1 EXHILARATED, EXHAUSTED: THE PIONEERS, 1882–1900
    (pp. 1-30)

    As was the case with many cities in the nation during the late nineteenth century, New Jersey entered the industrial era with its attendant strains of urban poverty, tenement reform, and labor issues. The cities of Newark, Orange, Paterson, and Elizabeth emerged early in New Jersey history as major industrial centers serving the northeast corridor of the country. With industrialization came urbanization and an escalated need for health care. Once hospitals became established in industrialized cities, the demand for continuous bedside caregivers became critical. As was characteristic of the monastic health care system developed in the early fourth century B.C.E.,...

  6. CHAPTER 2 STEPPING OUT, AGITATING: 1901–1920
    (pp. 31-62)

    With winter winds in the air on the afternoon of December 4, 1901, a small group of graduate nurses met at Newark City Hospital. Excited and nervous, they had a single, deceptively explicit mission: to organize the New Jersey State Nurses’ Association (NJSNA) for the purpose of securing legislation that would lead to “the betterment of the nursing profession.”¹

    Nurse leaders—members of the Nurses’ Alumnae Association of the United States and Canada—were watching New Jersey’s efforts closely, anticipating that the NJSNA, once established, would subsequently succeed in passing legislation to license graduate nurses. Present in Newark was Lavinia...

  7. CHAPTER 3 ORPHAN IN THE STORM: 1920–1940
    (pp. 63-96)

    When Elizabeth Cook graduated from the Newark City Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1920, she became a private duty nurse. She sought to distance herself from the world of the hospital. Elizabeth expected to practice in patients’ homes, the accepted site of patient care. Although public health initiatives were gaining momentum, the New Jersey Department of Health employed only a handful of public health nurses, primarily to help control contagious diseases. Visiting nurse associations employed nurses for hourly visiting nursing service, recognizing that poor families could not afford private duty nurses. Across the nation the science of hygiene was...

  8. CHAPTER 4 BUILDING THE MODERN WORLD: 1940–1960
    (pp. 97-133)

    As New Jersey State Nurses’ Association (NJSNA) members met in February 1941, to discuss the impact of relief programs and the fate of subsidiary workers, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was developing a two-ocean navy to safeguard the United States from germany on the east and Japan on the west.¹ Struggling to remain isolated from efforts considered harmful, both Roosevelt and the NJSNA leadership—worlds apart yet historically interconnected—guarded against perceived threats. Nine months later, despite a tendency toward isolation, Americans, New Jersey nurses among them, entered World War II. The December 8, 1941,New York Timesheadline blazed: “Japan...

  9. CHAPTER 5 EXPANDING ROLES: 1960–1980
    (pp. 134-171)

    On December 6, 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower met with president-elect John F. Kennedy on the north portico of the White House. Their goal: to “hit the high spots in the problem of transferring federal control from one administration to another.”¹ Elected by a narrow margin and emerging as the nation’s new leader as the Cold War deepened, Kennedy faced domestic challenges forecast by his predecessor. Eisenhower, a nation’s beloved war hero, had cautioned Americans on January 17, 1960, to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. . . . We must...

  10. CHAPTER 6 AUTONOMY: INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
    (pp. 172-208)

    On May 31, 1989, a subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony on the Immigration Nursing Relief Act of 1989. Faced with a nursing shortage, legislators wanted to “stop the hemorrhaging” by providing permanent resident status of foreign-born registered nurses and by implementing measures to “make the profession more appealing and accessible to U.S. labor.”¹

    Darlene Cox Cheaney, nursing administrator at University Hospital in Newark, urged the bill’s passage, claiming the loss of sixty-eight foreign nurses would close eleven critical care and sixty medical-surgical beds. Constance Patten, vice president for nursing of Raritan Bay Medical...

  11. CHAPTER 7 THE DOOR OF LAST RESORT
    (pp. 209-230)

    I was unprepared for the debris and strong, musty odor that assailed me as I opened the door to the Community Health Center on April 18, 2007. I was not surprised.

    The center—a two-room suite—is housed in a building serving as headquarters for the Camden County Council On Economic Opportunity (CCCOEO) in Camden, New Jersey. An old building originally designed as a library, it now had an appearance of genteel dilapidation, its weathered clay-colored stone walls eroded at the corners and its wide front sweeping steps reminiscent of a distant, romantic era. Clearly noncompliant on accessibility for the...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 231-290)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 291-310)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 311-311)