Ideals for nurses: A study of the "American Journal of Nursing" and "RN", 1940-1960
Lembi Saarmann, RN, BS, MS,EdD
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- Gamma Gamma
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The purpose of this study was to examine the ideals promoted in two major nursing journals, the AJN and RN, from 1940 through 1960. A thematic analysis of both journals was conducted. This analysis revealed that the AJN consistently represented the viewpoint of the ANA and the "elite" of nursing. It reflected the thrust toward professionalization desired by the nursing leaders. RN, on the other hand, represented the views of the rank and file of nursing. It reflected their more practical concerns. This difference was most pronounced in the conflict between the ideals of service and self-interest and in the debate over education. This schism led to a growing distrust and adversity between the two groups which was mirrored in the debate over ideals. Both the debate and the schisms exist to this day. The twenty-one years from 1940 to 1960 were a time of change and upheaval in nursing. Some ideals, such as patriotism and volunteerism, flared briefly, then died out. Others, such as tolerance, intelligence, and reverence for life, grew and flourished. Still others, such as service, self-interest, and appropriate education, were the focus of a civil war within nursing. The development of those ideals and ideals related to standards, democracy, research, and desired character traits was traced in both nursing journals. The Code of Ethics was also analyzed as a repository of ideals both explicit and implicit. The ideals preached to and by nurses were very much congruent with the attitudes of the general society toward women and with the needs of women to maintain an adequate standard of living. Since these two factors often conflicted, so ideals were found to conflict also. Parallels are drawn between the ideals found in the literature and the conditions of women in American society at the time.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 8611698; ProQuest document ID: 303489927. The author still retains copyright.
This item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
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American Journal of Nursing (AJN)
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