Nursing Body and Soul in the Parish: Lutheran Deaconess Motherhouses in Germany and the United States
|History; History & Philosophy Of Science; History Of Social Sciences; Nursing; Social Sciences - Other Topics
|SPRINGER PUBLISHING CO
|NURSING HISTORY REVIEW
In Lutheran Germany, parish nursing traditionally constituted the deaconesses' principal work. As ``Christian mothers of the parish'' they were charged with a wide spectrum of tasks, including nursing, social service, and pastoral care. At the center of the Christian understanding of nursing was the idea of nursing body and soul as a unity. This article analyzes the conception and transformation of Protestant parish nursing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Germany and the United States, which developed very differently. In West Germany, parish nursing proved surprisingly resistant to modernization even in the face of upheavals of the 1960s, and in some places this traditional model survived as late as the 1980s and 1990s. In the United States, by contrast, an understanding of nursing rooted in the division of labor between care for body and care for soul had come to prevail by the 1920s and `30s, pushing out the German model of the parish deaconess altogether.
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