MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Montclair Historical Society currently have the Mountainside School of Nursing artifacts on display. A lecture looking back at the Nursing in the Progressive Era will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 25.
This lecture will examine how the women nurses, hospital administrators and board members who created the Mountainside Nursing School contributed to the development of the health infrastructure of the Montclair area, and how Mountainside contributed to the empowerment of local women.
Vanessa Burrows is the guest lecturer who is a historian of medicine and public health whose research focuses on the political economy of health and medical research, twentieth century U.S. health policy and medical civil rights. Burrows discusses the Hackensack UMC Mountainside School of Nursing in the larger context of how the nursing profession empowered women in the Progressive Era and beyond.
The role that women played in the development of Mountainside Nursing School teaches us a great deal about the culture and community of Progressive Era Montclair. While nursing has historically been a profession dominated by women, the rise of the modern hospital in the late-nineteenth-century transformed the practice of nursing, and with it, the role that women nurses played in the care of their patients.
Mountainside Nursing School offers a lens on this transformation, revealing the complex ways in which scientific medicine elevated the prestige of nursing by demanding that nurses acquire a new skill set and knowledge base, but also reinforced the professional hierarchy between nurses and doctors. At the same time, the early history of Mountainside shows how Progressive women claimed leadership roles in developing health care resources for the Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield communities.
Burrows received her Ph.D. in History from the CUNY Graduate Center, and teaches U.S. History at Hunter College. She is currently working on a documentary film about how Medicare was used to desegregate U.S. hospitals. She lives in Montclair with her husband and two daughters.
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