Historically-informed nursing: A transnational case study in China

Jun Lu, Sonya Grypma, Yingjuan Cao, Lijuan Bu, Lin Shen, Patricia M. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The term ‘nurse’ (hushi—’caring scholar’) did not enter the Chinese language until the early 20th century. Modern nursing—a fundamentally Western notion popularized by Nightingale and introduced to China in 1884—profoundly changed the way care of the sick was practiced. For 65 years, until 1949, nursing developed in China as a transnational project, with Western and Chinese influences shaping the profession of nursing in ways that linger today. Co-authored by Chinese, Canadian, and American nurses, this paper examines the early stages of nursing in one province of China as an exemplar of the transnational nature of nursing development. By identifying sociopolitical influences on the early development of nursing in Shandong, the authors aimed not only to contribute to the nascent body of knowledge on China nursing history, but also to heighten readers’ sensitivity to the existence of historical echoes, residue, and resonances in their own nursing practices. Tracing current issues, values, or practices back to their roots provides context and helps us to better understand the present. Whether we are aware of the details or not, the gestalt of nursing practice in a particular place has been shaped by its history—including in Shandong province in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12205
JournalNursing Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • history
  • nursing knowledge
  • professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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