Caring in Crisis: An Oral History of Critical Care Nursing

By Jacqueline Zalumas | Go to book overview
Save to active project

5. Critical Care Nurses Speak

The purpose of this study has been to acquire and interpret, through the techniques and methods of oral history, interviews with critical care nurses. Nurses as individuals and nursing as a discipline are obscure in written histories. Nursing is often viewed in the shadow of the history of medicine, and even when the story of nursing is told, problems exist in finding appropriate primary source materials. While the details of nursing education and professional organization are well documented, the story of the development of actual clinical practice is almost non-existent. Further, written histories of nursing almost always demonstrate region, class, and sex bias; most written histories represent the activities of middle- and upper-class, northeastern white women. The development, since the 1960s, of clinical specialization has received even less attention by scholars.

The development of critical care nursing is tied to developments in medical specialization after World War II and the increasing use of highly complex technology in the hospital care of patients. The trend to locate very ill and dependent patients with highly skilled nurses began with the recovery room experience in the 1940s and 1950s. Improved techniques in cardiac surgery and developments in equipment for monitoring and manipulating cardiac status at the bedside accelerated this trend. The surgical and medical intensive care units (ICU) appeared in the 1950s and the coronary care units (CCU) in the 1960s. By the late 1960s, ICUs and CCUs were common in American hospitals of all types and sizes. Community hospitals would commonly have a large combined medical-surgical ICU and a separate CCU, while university teaching hospitals might have multiple ICUs representing medical and surgical specialties such as heart surgery, pulmonary, organ transplant, burn care, and the like. Patients in the 1990s might be admitted to an ICU for an acute illness like a heart attack; for short-term management after specialized surgery such as removal of a brain tumor; or for long-term management of complications of either, such as respiratory support on a ventilator after a postoperative stroke or pneumonia.

Political, economic, and social realities have changed the U.S. health care establishment and the populations requiring care. Americans are older

-184-

Notes for this page

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.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

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

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Caring in Crisis: An Oral History of Critical Care Nursing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

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?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 244

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.

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.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?