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On Duty

Power, Politics, and the History of Nursing in New Jersey

Frances Ward

Publication Year: 2009

In 1886, Newark City Hospital opened a training school for nurses in New Jersey. With the dawn of a new century women began to demand rights that had been denied them, and nurses too demanded changes in health care and higher education. For the first time, On Duty offers a highly readable account of the struggle for professional autonomy by New Jersey nurses and reveals how their political and legislative battles mirrored the struggle of women throughout the country to redefine their roles in society.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

Irene Fallon, the first president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA), braced for the frigid air of January 26, 1903. She walked briskly with her colleague Bertha Gardner up the steps of the state capitol in Trenton to the Assembly chambers of Harry Scovel. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

On Wednesday, July 11, 2007, my undergraduate nursing students and I conducted a health fair at the Camden Community Health Center. Our focus: the illnesses that most commonly plague city residents—hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, anemia, and high cholesterol. Many people were screened that day. ...

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1. Exhilarated, Exhausted: The Pioneers, 1882-1900

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pp. 1-30

As was the case with many cities in the nation during the late nineteenth century, New Jersey entered the industrial era with its attendant strains of urban poverty, tenement reform, and labor issues. The cities of Newark, Orange, Paterson, and Elizabeth emerged early in New Jersey history as major industrial centers serving the northeast corridor of the country. ...

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2. Stepping Out, Agitating: 1901-1920

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pp. 31-62

With winter winds in the air on the afternoon of December 4, 1901, a small group of graduate nurses met at Newark City Hospital. Excited and nervous, they had a single, deceptively explicit mission: to organize the New Jersey State Nurses’ Association (NJSNA) for the purpose of securing legislation that would lead to “the betterment of the nursing profession.”1 ...

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3. Orphan in the Storm: 1920-1940

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pp. 63-96

When Elizabeth Cook graduated from the Newark City Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1920, she became a private duty nurse. She sought to distance herself from the world of the hospital. Elizabeth expected to practice in patients’ homes, the accepted site of patient care. ...

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4. Building the Modern World: 1940-1960

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pp. 97-133

As New Jersey State Nurses’ Association (NJSNA) members met in February 1941, to discuss the impact of relief programs and the fate of subsidiary workers, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was developing a two-ocean navy to safeguard the United States from Germany on the east and Japan on the west.1 ...

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5. Expanding Roles: 1960-1980

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pp. 134-171

On December 6, 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower met with president-elect John F. Kennedy on the north portico of the White House. Their goal: to “hit the high spots in the problem of transferring federal control from one administration to another.”1 ...

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6. Autonomy: Into the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 172-208

On May 31, 1989, a subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony on the Immigration Nursing Relief Act of 1989. Faced with a nursing shortage, legislators wanted to “stop the hemorrhaging” by providing permanent resident status of foreign-born registered nurses and by...

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7. The Door of Last Resort

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pp. 209-230

I was unprepared for the debris and strong, musty odor that assailed me as I opened the door to the Community Health Center on April 18, 2007. I was not surprised. ...


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pp. 231-289


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pp. 291-310

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About the Author

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Frances Ward, professor of nursing and the David R. Devereaux Chair of Nursing at the College of Health Professions, Temple University, is an adult nurse practitioner with a deep and expansive knowledge of nursing in New Jersey. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813547091
E-ISBN-10: 0813547091
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813544915
Print-ISBN-10: 0813544912

Page Count: 330
Illustrations: 21 photographs, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2009