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Presentations, Publications
7/17/2014

Jean Whelan Shares History of Philadelphia General Hospital

Jean C. Whelan, PhD, RN, Adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing and Assistant Director for Penn Nursing’s Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, recently authored a blog post for philly.com’s The Public’s Health blog.

Jean C. Whelan, PhD, RN, Adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing and Assistant Director for Penn Nursing’s Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, recently authored a blog post for philly.com’s The Public’s Health blog. The post, titled “Care for all: A look back at Philadelphia General Hospital,” examines the history of a healthcare institution that served Philadelphians from 1732 to 1977 and includes links to several historical images hosted by the Bates Center.

From the post:

By the early 20th century, the institution shed its almshouse functions, was renamed Philadelphia General Hospital, and became a full-fledged general hospital offering modern medical and nursing care. Its reputation depended not just on the excellence of the medical and nursing staff but also on its role as provider of health care to those unable to access other hospitals due to their race or ethnicity, low income, or lack of health insurance. Its doors were always open to all Philadelphians. In a pre-Medicare, pre-Medicaid, pre-Affordable Care Act era, PGH guaranteed that no Philadelphian would go without needed hospital care in a city that took as a given the community’s responsibility to citizens less fortunate.

Dr. Whelan’s research centers on the historical development of U.S. nursing workforce, the issues which shaped nursing’s development and the policy implications involved in maintaining adequate nurse services. In particular, Dr. Whelan examines the appearance of nurse shortages and problems in distributing nurses to the public throughout the 20th century. She coordinates the popular and thought-provoking Barbara Bates History Center Bi-Monthly Seminar series as well as initiates and implements special projects carried out by the Bates Nursing History Center. Dr. Whelan currently serves as President of the American Association for the History of Nursing.