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“Something Must Be Done!”: Public Health Nursing Education in the United States From 1900 to 1950

Kulbok, Pamela A. DNSc, RN, PHCNS-BC, FAAN; Glick, Doris F. PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000029
Original Articles

This article examines public health nursing (PHN) education in the United States from 1900 to 1950. Following establishment of district nursing and the Henry Street Settlement in the late 1800s, nurses worked with families and communities in schools, homes, and with immigrant populations in tenements of industrialized cities. By the early 1900s, PHN leaders recognized that graduates needed broader education than provided by hospital training schools to prepare nurses to address social conditions and promote health and hygiene for populations. Current themes in professional nursing, such as social determinants of health, have their roots in early discourse about PHN education.

Departments of Nursing (Drs Kulbok and Glick) and Public Health Sciences (Dr Kulbok), University of Virginia School of Nursing, Charlottesville.

Correspondence: Pamela A. Kulbok, Departments of Nursing and Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia School of Nursing, 1215 Lee St, Charlottesville, VA 22908 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins