Ohio History Journal

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Nursing in Ohio: A History. By James H. Rodabaugh and Mary Jane

Rodabaugh. (Columbus, The Ohio State Nurses' Association, 1951. xiv+

273p., illustrations, appendices, source notes, and index. $4.00.)

Ohio for many years has shown unusual interest in the history of medicine.

Stimulated by the eager enthusiasm of Dr. Jonathan Forman, a group of

researchers has met annually for more than a decade to add immeasurably

to the knowledge of nineteenth-century science in the Middle West. A

steadily growing list of papers, monographs, and books by physicians,

historians, and laymen testifies to the energy and careful scholarship of

individuals who believe that the full and complete history of a culture is

incomplete without reference to health and disease. Both the Ohio State

Medical Journal and the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

have supported research by devoting generous space to articles exploring

fascinating facets of medical history.

Now, with the publication of a history of nursing, two Ohioans con-

tinue the tradition and make a distinguished contribution to an historical

literature dealing with disease and the care of the sick. In a very real

sense, Nursing in Ohio is a pioneering effort, for as yet no other state has

published a full-length, documented story of the nurse and her function

in society.

The Rodabaughs swiftly and expertly sketch the story of frontier ills

and treatments, describe various schools of medical practice, characterize

outstanding physicians, and trace the rise of hospitals. They devote three

chapters to the beginnings and early development of nursing, showing how

Catholic nursing orders were among the first to care for the sick, how

Protestant nurses from Germany, Norway, and Sweden began work about

1836, and how the Civil War emphasized the need for nurses. The post-

war period, of course, witnessed the slow rise of the modern hospital and

of the trained nurse. With deftness and objectivity, the authors trace

training programs in Ohio from the days of "practical" instruction to the

time when a variety of subjects was taught the student nurse. In 1915

minimum standards for schools of nursing were established, although not

without opposition. From then until 1951, other acts provided additional

legal helps and standards.

The mighty social and economic changes that so radically altered

American life after the first World War (two chapters tell the story of the