2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/163488
Category:
Abstract
Type:
Presentation
Title:
Expecting too much from the law: The 1938 New York State Nurse Practice Act
Author(s):
Whelan, Jean
Author Details:
Jean Whelan, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, email: jcwhelan@nursing.upenn.edu
Abstract:
Purpose: This paper will examine and analyze the 1938 New York State Todd-Feld Act, the first mandatory nurse practice act passed in the USA. This study will focus on the contentious years between passage and enforcement of the act and analyze how hospitals succeeded in shaping the act to their own needs. Emphasis will be on the unique situation in the nurse labor market which created a demand for mandatory licensing and at the same time delayed its implementation. Research Questions: What were the working conditions during the 1930s which created a demand for mandatory nursing practice? Why did professional nurses in New York State choose to regulate and control nursing practice via a legislative route? How do the provisions of the act governing the practice of non-professionals in nursing continue to affect present day nurses? What are the long term effects of social policies advanced by earlier generations of nurses? As nurses confront the present nursing shortage, what lessons can be learned from examining past efforts to solve nurse employment problems? Framework and Methods: This study used traditional methods of social history in which primary and secondary sources are examined and analyzed. Primary data sources used included archival records of the New York State Nurses Association located at the Foundation of the New York State Nurses Association in Guliderland, New York and the New York County Registered Nurses Association located in New York City. Other primary sources included contemporary official and professional reports issued on nursing. Secondary sources which corroborated and validated findings were articles in nursing and health related professional journals. Results and Conclusions: The 1938 New York State nurse practice act, created two levels of nursing practice, professional and practical. Policy makers believed mandatory nursing practice would correct serious underemployment problems experienced by depression era private duty nurses and provide the profession with greater control over non-professional workers. Professional leaders strongly promoted passage of the act. Working private duty nurses exhibited resistance to licensing a second level of nursing practice and demonstrated antagonism to newly licensed practical nurses. By the time the act was enforced in 1949, eleven years after its passage, most nurses had abandoned the private duty sector for hospital employment. A severe shortage of nurses existed in the hospital sector. Hospitals eager to employ nurse workers of varying abilities were able to exert greater control over the nurse labor market. The importance of hospitals to nurse employment blunted the effectiveness of the act. Hospitals were able to use the provisions of the act to fashion a three tiered level of nursing practice which allowed unlimited use of low cost non-professional nurse workers. Professional nurses failed to achieve the goal of mandatory nursing practice. Implications for Nursing Practice and Knowledge Development: The mid-twentieth century professional nurse labor market experienced very labile shifts in availability of nursing personnel. Efforts to achieve a steady supply of nurse workers involved legislative processes which carried the potential for consequences not envisioned by the legislation's promoters. The current shortage of professional nurses has created a demand for a number of legislative fixes. Nurses need to analyze contemporary policies with care and caution. Examining the events surrounding the passage of the New York State mandatory nurse practice act illustrates the ability of nursing to attain legislative victories as well as the limitations of relying on state mandates for solving nursing practice and employment issues.
Repository Posting Date:
27-Oct-2011
Date of Publication:
27-Oct-2011
Conference Date:
2002
Conference Name:
14th Annual Scientific Sessions
Conference Host:
Eastern Nursing Research Society
Conference Location:
University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Note:
This is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item. If a citation is listed in this record, the item has been published and is available via open-access avenues or a journal/database subscription. Contact your library for assistance in obtaining the as-published article.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.type.categoryAbstracten_US
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleExpecting too much from the law: The 1938 New York State Nurse Practice Acten_GB
dc.contributor.authorWhelan, Jeanen_US
dc.author.detailsJean Whelan, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, email: jcwhelan@nursing.upenn.eduen_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/163488-
dc.description.abstractPurpose: This paper will examine and analyze the 1938 New York State Todd-Feld Act, the first mandatory nurse practice act passed in the USA. This study will focus on the contentious years between passage and enforcement of the act and analyze how hospitals succeeded in shaping the act to their own needs. Emphasis will be on the unique situation in the nurse labor market which created a demand for mandatory licensing and at the same time delayed its implementation. Research Questions: What were the working conditions during the 1930s which created a demand for mandatory nursing practice? Why did professional nurses in New York State choose to regulate and control nursing practice via a legislative route? How do the provisions of the act governing the practice of non-professionals in nursing continue to affect present day nurses? What are the long term effects of social policies advanced by earlier generations of nurses? As nurses confront the present nursing shortage, what lessons can be learned from examining past efforts to solve nurse employment problems? Framework and Methods: This study used traditional methods of social history in which primary and secondary sources are examined and analyzed. Primary data sources used included archival records of the New York State Nurses Association located at the Foundation of the New York State Nurses Association in Guliderland, New York and the New York County Registered Nurses Association located in New York City. Other primary sources included contemporary official and professional reports issued on nursing. Secondary sources which corroborated and validated findings were articles in nursing and health related professional journals. Results and Conclusions: The 1938 New York State nurse practice act, created two levels of nursing practice, professional and practical. Policy makers believed mandatory nursing practice would correct serious underemployment problems experienced by depression era private duty nurses and provide the profession with greater control over non-professional workers. Professional leaders strongly promoted passage of the act. Working private duty nurses exhibited resistance to licensing a second level of nursing practice and demonstrated antagonism to newly licensed practical nurses. By the time the act was enforced in 1949, eleven years after its passage, most nurses had abandoned the private duty sector for hospital employment. A severe shortage of nurses existed in the hospital sector. Hospitals eager to employ nurse workers of varying abilities were able to exert greater control over the nurse labor market. The importance of hospitals to nurse employment blunted the effectiveness of the act. Hospitals were able to use the provisions of the act to fashion a three tiered level of nursing practice which allowed unlimited use of low cost non-professional nurse workers. Professional nurses failed to achieve the goal of mandatory nursing practice. Implications for Nursing Practice and Knowledge Development: The mid-twentieth century professional nurse labor market experienced very labile shifts in availability of nursing personnel. Efforts to achieve a steady supply of nurse workers involved legislative processes which carried the potential for consequences not envisioned by the legislation's promoters. The current shortage of professional nurses has created a demand for a number of legislative fixes. Nurses need to analyze contemporary policies with care and caution. Examining the events surrounding the passage of the New York State mandatory nurse practice act illustrates the ability of nursing to attain legislative victories as well as the limitations of relying on state mandates for solving nursing practice and employment issues.en_GB
dc.date.available2011-10-27T11:08:26Z-
dc.date.issued2011-10-27en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-27T11:08:26Z-
dc.conference.date2002en_US
dc.conference.name14th Annual Scientific Sessionsen_US
dc.conference.hostEastern Nursing Research Societyen_US
dc.conference.locationUniversity Park, Pennsylvania, USAen_US
dc.description.noteThis is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item. If a citation is listed in this record, the item has been published and is available via open-access avenues or a journal/database subscription. Contact your library for assistance in obtaining the as-published article.-
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