Coming to grips with the nursing question: The politics of nursing education reform in 1960s america

Dominique A. Tobbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The 1950s and 1960s were decades of change for the American nursing profession. A new generation of nurse educators sought to create greater professional autonomy for the nurse by introducing new models of education that emphasized science-based learning over technical skills and bedside care, and creating new clinical roles for the nurse, based on advanced graduate education. They confronted resistance from an older generation of nurses who feared becoming " second-class citizens" in increasingly academic nursing schools, and from academic health care institutions all too comfortable with the gendered hierarchy on which the traditional model of nursing education and practice was predicated. Using the University of Minnesota and University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) as case studies, and based on institutional records and more than 40 oral histories with nursing and medical faculty, this article describes the generational conflicts this new cadre of nurse educators confronted within schools of nursing, and the institutional politics they struggled with as they sought to secure greater institutional status for the schools among the universities' other health science units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-60
Number of pages24
JournalNursing History Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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