History of Nursing in Venezuela

In the end of the nineteenth century, Venezuelan religious women governed and operated the country’s public health system including the public health institutions. However, new educational models offered by the modern vision of health care would help thousands of nurses with their professional growth since they came to raise and improve the standards in the field and own occupation. This crucial goal cannot be promptly met because of the low educational level of candidates and the needs of health service for significant economic means to satisfy demands with experienced staff. The resistance of traditional medicine was another obstacle that hindered to examine health as a whole, and, thereby, comprehend the preventive and social aspects. Nursing in Venezuela was focused on the technical dimension and medical subordination, coupled with the strength of the curative medicine of the time that prevented a holistic view of health. It was quite difficult for the founders of nursing facilities in Latin America, in particular, Venezuela, to establish public health institutions and enhance health orientation (Vessuri 521).

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The history of nursing dates back to the early days of humanity. However, a few centuries ago, humans began to institutionalize caring for sick people. Once, it was believed that diseases were produced under the influence of evil spirits. Later, the necessity to take care of sick people in a suitable place led to the establishment of facilities dealing with health care. In Venezuela, nursing studies were closely linked to the historical, social, political, and economic processes of the country and the organization of its health system. The historical development of nursing in Venezuela has gone through the classic stages of universal evolution. In antiquity, it was characterized by the cult of health, superstitions, beliefs about illness and death.

The Venezuelan hospitals continue to undergo main changes that arise from the dynamics of evolution and growth of professions within their health care system. Different factors contributing to the nursing are considered as major players in the health care team. Decisive participation in various processes regarding health and diseases include the creation of the theoretical basis of the practice, a precise, and the most suitable definition of nurses’ professional role along with improvement of nursing studies. Regarding the professional role of nurses, and the way their activity should be improved, researchers point to the next streams of thought: a modern and traditional one. Traditionally, the nurses were assigned the following values:  dedication, submission, charity, self-sacrifice, and altruism.

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However, from the 1950s a stream of important views concerning the philosophy of the profession and nursing aims give a unique identity within the health professions. These conceptual issues inherent in any search for identity have matured and evolved over time. People have tried to clarify the conceptual framework of the profession and its identity. In Venezuela, the development of the nursing contributes to a wide variety of other health care professions adapting new structures and strategies of the health system to favor the promotion of health and prevention of disease.

It is important to note the present-day challenges of the Venezuelan nursing. The country needs to increase the level of training, research, practice, and service in accordance with the pace of scientific and technological progress and their level of competence and responsibility. The professional nurses should be able to raise the social status of their profession to the level of social contribution through the health system and higher education.

In modern times, by the standards of Latin America, Venezuela has an enviable record that has shown significant progress in the social and health welfare (Haggerty 75). In Venezuela, nursing is in transition regarding its consolidation as the profession. This is evidence when exploring the central aspects like power. Emanating from the nature of its practice, authority offers humane care to sick or healthy people, families, or single individuals and contributes important changes demanded by society. Human care due to the attenuation of human transcendental values present in Venezuela is marked by dehumanization among different groups.

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In general, health care centers in Venezuela have grown in the quality and number. Simultaneously, the population has become urban and better educated. There has been an essential increase in the number of medical personnel and institutions providing health care service. The government incentives in the field of nursing affect the rise of the number of nurses and the selection of this occupation by a great number of Venezuelan women, professionals of their field.

Medicine has been traditionally regarded as a highly respected and prestigious profession; medical schools in Venezuela have turned out a sufficient number of well-trained and qualified doctors. However, a few nurses have received the necessary training and practice, and, because of this, physicians often lacked the adequate support system. The availability of health care in rural areas of Venezuela represents another gap in the entire healthcare delivery system. Nowadays, physicians and medical advisers tend to concentrate in the large cities, in particular, in the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, leaving many provincial towns without appropriate and skillful medical personnel. With some success, the authorities attempt to eliminate this drawback by delivering primary medical services through a system of paramedics. From the other side, the budgets cuts could significantly affect the health services provided (Haggerty 76).

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Private and charitable organizations engaged in social welfare were free from the income tax. Later, they have played a crucial and decisive role in maintaining and facilitating charity organizations and hospitals, funding scholarships and assisting individuals, who have limited incomes. Venezuela has greatly benefited from the efforts of the private sector and community-minded leaders, who promoted government programs and ensured further assistance for people, who were and who are in the greatest need. The recent experiment regarding the nurses’ activity in the hospital and outpatient care, in addition to performing faculty, administrative, associative, and health care tasks has provided a real view of the nursing profession in Venezuela.

Researchers consider nurses serving in primary care as professionals, who make a significant contribution to the advancement and protection of health care by implementing its main and important goals (Bennett, Perry, and Lawrence 51). Unfortunately, despite the indispensable social role in preserving humans’ lives, the Venezuelan nursing obtains no adequate treatment from society.

It is true that the nursing can get the necessary power to provide patients with care and love, and receive social legitimacy in Venezuela by practicing loving humane care in health facilities. Protective behaviors directed to ensure safety in accordance with the organizations’ requirements and standards characterize the old paradigm of values that are still present in the Venezuelan nursing (Hentsch 441). With its emergence in 1930, the nursing of Venezuela has developed mechanistic organizational paradigm and distinctive behaviors of the nurses, which remain so after more than eighty years from the day of its origination. The Venezuelan nursing continues to be based on the scientific and technical models.

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While discussing the nursing, it is important to note what patients expect from the nurses’ activity. Undoubtedly, each patient expects nurses to be caring, thoughtful, cute, considerate, and mannerly. Patients should be assured that they would get all necessary treatments at a set time. They hope to meet sympathetic nurses. However, a patient usually finds a health care provider as quite a technical person. Three relevant factors interpret this position.  The first factor is that the modern health institution privileges technical skills of its personnel. The second factor is that the entire health system remains linked to the bureaucratic model, when procedural abilities dominate and contribute impersonality, thereby moving spiritual, emotional, and soulful actions to the background. It disagrees with the new vision of the world that focuses on human health and requires nurses provide humanistic care. The third factor is that management of the health facilities remains directed towards its administration that controls personnel and seeks to achieve the quantitative production of all objectives.


The entirety of the aforementioned aspects defines health as vitality and the ability to create new and more favorable way of living. Considerable emphasis on the political programs will eventually realize the organizational and cultural exchanges that the health sector demands. It will help Venezuela become responsible for appropriate health care service ensuring unequivocal and universal access to all its citizens. Nursing personnel endorses a political system of laws underscoring health care as a fundamental civil right based on patriotic consciousness and institutionalization of co-responsibility, liberty, honesty, equality, loyalty, promotion of prosperity, peace loving, general well-being of communities, families, and citizens of Venezuela.

Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, highlights the government’s commitment to solving problems in the sector, inviting new professional nurses, and improving the labor conditions for specialists in the public system of health care (Robertson). Numerous attempts have been made to demonstrate the basic role of nurses in the promotion of communities’ health. Nursing services continue to promote the health applying the holistic approach to the individual care and care of communities. Without professional help and experience of nurses, the primary public health would not function at the same level as today.

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