Editor's note: From its first issue in 1900 through to the present day, AJN has unparalleled archives detailing nurses’ work and lives over the last century. These articles not only chronicle nursing's growth as a profession within the context of the events of the day, but they also reveal prevailing societal attitudes about women, health care, and human rights. Today's nursing school curricula rarely include nursing's history, but it's a history worth knowing. To this end, From the AJN Archives will be a frequent column, containing articles selected to fit today's topics and times.
This 1901 article, published here in its entirety, expounds on the “purifying and tonic germ-destroying power of sunlight” and “pure air.” The author advises nurses to open windows, as patients heal better when their rooms are well ventilated and bright. Over 100 years later, we are again recognizing the healing power of natural light in hospital environments, as noted in this issue's Environments and Health article on the ways in which the design and operation of health care facilities can affect the health of patients, employees, communities, and the environment.