An analysis of the efforts of American nurses to establish nursing as an academic discipline and nurses as valued researchers in the decades after World War II. Nurses represent the largest segment of the US health care workforce and spend significantly more time with patients than any other member of the health care team.
Dominique A. Tobbell's book Dr. Nurse: Science, Politics, and the Transformation of American Nursing (U Chicago Press, 2022) probes their history to examine major changes that have taken place in American health care in the second half of the twentieth century. The book examines the major changes in nursing education and the place of nursing in the post-war research university, revealing how federal and state health and higher education policies shaped education within health professions after World War II. Starting in the 1950s, academic nurses sought to construct a science of nursing--distinct from that of the related biomedical or behavioral sciences--that would provide the basis of nursing practice. Facing broad changes in patient care driven by the introduction of new medical innovations, they worked both to develop science-based nursing practice and to secure their roles within the post-war research university. By their efforts, academic nurses transformed nursing's labor into a valuable site of knowledge production and demonstrated how the application of this knowledge was integral to improving patient outcomes and healthcare delivery. Exploring the knowledge claims, strategies, and politics involved as academic nurses negotiated their roles and nursing's future, Dr. Nurse reveals how state-supported health centers have profoundly shaped nursing education and health care delivery.
Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine.