Frontier Nursing in Appalachia: History, Organization and the Changing Culture of Care

Edie West

This book provides a historical analysis of the Frontier Nursing Services in the Eastern Appalachians of the United States, as well as a review of the oral history tradition of former frontier and non-frontier nurses. The data was gathered from 2003 to 2007, and the historical part covers the years 1900 to 1970.

The objective of the study presented here was to conduct interviews with former frontier and non-frontier nurses in order to better understand their family and personal relationships, and the experiences that motivated their career choices. These interviews also give a voice to the working and middle-class women of the FNS. The emerging themes include moral inhabitability in work/education environments, the generational mix, nurse-physician and male-female relationships at the workplace, the role of technology, humanitarian versus financial rewards, and the public image of nurses.

In addition, the book examines how the FNS shifted from a community/grass-roots structure to the corporate/business model of healthcare delivery employed today. In closing, it stresses the importance of explorig past nursing in order to better grasp present nursing. It also represents a testament to the professional work and vital contributions of frontier nurses.


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