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The Evolution of Orthopaedic Nursing at the Hospital for Special Surgery: The First Orthopaedic Institution in theUnited States

Kahn, Barbara A.


The history of nursing began in London in the late 1800s with the reform of unsanitary conditions by Florence Nightingale. During the same period, the United States was bitterly fighting the Civil War. Nursing had not developed as a profession, and most of the duties performed by nurses were conducted by men. Casualties of war required rehabilitation and care. Crippled children were left to die because they were considered a burden to society. Dr. James Knight founded the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled in his home on Second Avenue. This would later become a world-renowned orthopaedic institution with exceptional nursing care. A historical analysis of nursing education and practice are reviewed, along with the evolution of the first orthopaedic hospital in the United States.

Barbara A. Kahn, BS, RN, ONC, Nurse Clinician, The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

© 2005 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses