The 19th century consolidation of the ideology of domesticity and the ideology of professionalism paralleled the evolution of nursing as a formal occupation for women. Efforts to combine these ideologies, which are based on markedly different foundational assumptions, have been central to the history of American nursing. A meaningful understanding of nursing's history necessitates a synthesis of the interpretations generated by individual historians who have studied similar events in nursing's past. Three feminist historians have studied the professionalizing process in nursing. Generated from diverse perspectives and source materials, the work of these historians illuminates the tensions resulting from nursing's efforts to blend the ideologies of domesticity and professionalism and provides insight into the lessons that can be learned from history.
© 1990 Aspen Publishers, Inc.