Narrow Passageways: Nurses and Physicians in Conflict and Concert Since 1875

  • Joan E. Lynaugh
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 29)


Nursing and medicine are interdependent entities that hold common goals of caring for the sick and curing or preventing illness and share social values of altruism and professional accountability. Still, physicians go about their work of diagnosing and treating disease without giving much thought to nurses; nurses teach patients, clean them, feed them, and support them through illness without paying much attention to physicians. But, as a condition of their practice, nurses and physicians occupy the same space at the bedside of the patient. This shared tenancy may be amicable, tense, or full of outright hostility. Whatever the emotional character of the relationship between nurses and physicians, the relationship itself rests on tradition, beliefs, and laws that stem from ideas of moral responsibility, control, expert knowledge, and correct social order. Any re-examination of the moral and social validity of the role of medicine in contemporary society requires scrutiny of the nurse-physician dyad. It is much easier to understand the issues related to the distribution of work and authority between nursing and medicine when the two disciplines are studied in historical context.


Watchful Waiting Trained Nurse 19th Century Hospital Nurse Leader Graduate Nurse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Atwater, E.: forthcoming, ‘This Worthy Enterprise — The Development of General Hospitals in Upper New York State’, in D. Long & J. Golden (eds.), Hospitals and Communities: A contemporary Institution in Historical Perspective, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dock, L.: 1903 ‘Hospital Organization’, American Journal of Nursing 3, 421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Editorial: 1903, Charities 11, 580.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Estes, W. L.: 1891, ‘Graduation Address’, Annual Report, St. Luke’s Hospital Training School for Nurses, Allentown, PA.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Henderson, V.: 1966, The Nature of Nursing, Macmillan Co., New York.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970: 1975, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hudson, R.: 1983, Disease and Its Control, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lynaugh, J. and Bates, B.: 1973, ‘The Two Languages of Nursing and Medicine’, American Journal of Nursing 73, 66–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lynaugh, J.: forthcoming, ‘From Respectable Domesticity to Medical Efficiency: The Changing Kansas City Hospital, 1875–1915’, in D. Long and J. Golden (eds.), Hospitals and Communities: A Contemporary Institution in Historical Perspective, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nightingale, F.: 1860, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not, Harrison & Sons, London (facsimile edition).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    O’Brien, P.: ‘All A Woman’s Life Can Bring: The Domestic Roots of Nursing in Philadelphia’, Nursing Research 36, 12–17.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Parsons, S.: 1985, Nursing Problems and Obligations, reprint ed., Garland Publishing, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Reverby, S.: 1987, Ordered to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing, Cambridge Univesity Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rosenberg, C: 1979, ‘Florence Nightingale On Contagion: The Hospital As Moral Universe’, Healing and History: Essays for George Rosen, ed. Charles E. Rosenberg, Science History Publications, New York, pp. 116–136.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Winslow, G.: 1984, ‘From Loyalty to Advocacy: A New Metaphor for Nursing’, The Hastings Center Report 14(3), 32–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan E. Lynaugh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia

Personalised recommendations