American Nurses in Colonial Settings

Imperial power at the bedside

Authored by: Winifred Connerton

Routledge Handbook on the Global History of Nursing

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415594271
eBook ISBN: 9780203488515
Adobe ISBN: 9781135049751


 Download Chapter



Nurses are essential to studies of American imperialism of the early twentieth century because nursing as a profession embodied the “benevolent” approach of American colonialism; as individuals, trained nurses were the personal face of America in their contact with patients at the bedside and in the clinic. 1 Yet nurses are absent from nearly all studies of American imperialism, and conversely imperialism is absent from the few studies of nursing in the US colonial occupations. However, it is not easy to overlook the presence of nurses at every stage of operation: nurses worked with state agencies, with voluntary organizations such as Protestant missions, and with philanthropic foundations. New approaches to the US imperial era, which began with the Spanish–American War of 1898, include a wide set of historical actors and consider the power of cultural influence as an aspect of imperialism not constrained by the boundaries of colonial occupation. This chapter argues that including trained nursing in histories of the US imperial experiment of the early twentieth century offers an important perspective on imperialism and American influence in the world.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.