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Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection

Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards. These postcard images are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men, and work; and by attitudes toward class, race, and national differences. Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Pos


The concept of women in healthcare and nursing traces its roots to ancient religious and cultural beliefs in Picturing Nursing Career Western cultures. Nursing, as a formal profession, emerged about 150 years ago, driven by social reformers like Florence Nightingale in the United Kingdom and the United States. In ancient Mediterranean cultures, Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health and daughter of Asclepius, the god of medicine, was often regarded as the first nurse, overseeing cleanliness and preventative medicine.

Nursing, as a career, introduced new opportunities for women, providing economic independence and an escape from restrictive domestic lives. Florence Nightingale, renowned for her compassionate care of wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, earned the epithet "the Lady with the Lamp." Post-war, Nightingale founded the first modern nursing school at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, leaving a lasting impact on the nursing profession.

The historical evolution of nursing reflects not only a response to healthcare needs but also a transformative force for women's roles and independence.