Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession

By Cockerham, Anne Z. | Nursing History Review, January 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession


Cockerham, Anne Z., Nursing History Review


Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession By Laura E. Ettinger (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006) (269 pages; $74.95 cloth; $26.95 paper)

The question of how the hybrid profession of nurse-midwifery developed in the United States from its precursors in lay midwifery, public health nursing, and western European midwifery is one that is successfully addressed by Laura Ettinger's Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession, the first book-length study of the topic. The author successfully weaves together her interests in the history of women, history of medicine, culture of childbirth, and gender of professions. She analyzes how nurse-midwives affected and were affected by larger childbirth trends in the United States; how bright, ambitious maternity and public health nurses in the early twentieth century became nurse-midwives and "created a space of their own in the face of many obstacles" (p. 3); the relationships between nurse-midwifery, nursing, and medicine; and the place that nurse-midwives occupied and continue to hold in the American access-to-care landscape.

Nurse-Midwifery is a story of the ways in which nurse-midwives negotiated with others in the maternity care system in the early twentieth century to develop and maintain their profession. Ettinger's primary thesis is that nurse-midwives developed strategies of accommodation in order to survive. One strategy was the cultivation of an outsider status in order to be less threatening to physicians and others in power in maternity health care. By limiting their practice to caring for patients who could afford to pay little or nothing for their health care, nurse-midwives carved out a place for themselves.

Ettinger's innovative use of labor terms as chapter titles keeps the reader focused on the work of midwives. In the first chapter, "Conception," Ettinger outlines her thesis and places nurse-midwifery in the larger context of changing childbirth practices in the United States. She emphasizes the medicalization of birth, the decline of traditional midwives, the public health nursing movement, increased interest in maternal-child health in the Progressive Era, and midwifery trends in western Europe. In "Early Labor Pains," Ettinger details the pre-World War II work of the two best-known early nurse-midwifery services: Mary Breckinridge's Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) in Eastern Kentucky and New York's Maternity Center Association (MCA). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.