Ancient History Of Nursing In India

The ancient history of nursing in India is the practice of care for medical patients in that nation. Its history indicates that the principles and practices of nursing are ancient.

The first school of nursing was started in Government General Hospital, Madras with a six-month diploma midwives program with four students In 1871. The first nursing school for women was inaugurated at Kanpur’s Saint Catherine’s Hospital by Dr. Alice Marval.

Four female superintendents and four trained nurses from England were posted to Madras. Between 1890 and 1900, many schools, under either missions or government, were started in various parts of India. In the 20th century, national nursing associations were started.

In 1897, B.C. Roy worked to the standards of nursing and nurses of both sexes.

The ancient history of nursing in Indian practices is so clear Nursing in India, intelligent and scientific, that many of them might fit into any of the modern textbooks.

Prior to the 20th century, Indian nurses were usually young men, with women acting as midwives for assisting with childbirth.

The acceptance of nursing as a profession in India was obstructed by the low status of women, the caste system, illiteracy, and political unrest.

Formal nursing was not explored in the ancient era until the 17th century. Each village had a midwife/traditional birth attendant to meet the maternal and child health needs of the people.

Military nursing was the earliest type of modern nursing, introduced by the Portuguese in the 17th century. In 1664, the East India Company started a hospital for soldiers at Fort St. Geroge, Madras. In 1797, a lay-in-hospital for the poor was built in Madras.

Some of the other early hospitals include:

  • The First Hospital of Calcutta at Fort William (1708)
  • The Calcutta Medical College Hospital and the London Mission Hospital at Neyur (1838)
  • Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy (JJ) Group in Mumbai (1843)
  • Thomas Hospital in Agra (1853)
  • Holy Family Hospital, Delhi (1855)
  • Civil Hospital Amritsar (1860)
  • CMC in Ludhiana, Punjab (1881)
  • Miraj Medical School and Hospital, Maharashtra (1892)
  • Boring Hospital in Bangalore (1895)



History Of Military Nursing In India:

Military nursing was the earliest type of nursing in India. In 1664 the East India Company started a hospital for soldiers in a house at Fort St.George, Madras.

The first sisters were sent from St Thomas’ Hospital, London to this military hospital.

The Indian Army Military Nursing Service has its origins in the Military Nursing Service formed in 1888 as part of the British Army.

The force went through many changes over the years of its existence. 1 October 1926, the nursing services were made a permanent part of the British Indian Army.




In 1797 a Lying-in-Hospital (maternity) for the poor of Madras was built with the help of subscriptions by John Underwood. In 1854 the government sanctioned a training school for midwives in Madras.



Ancient History Of Nursing In India

History Of Florence Nightingale:

Florence Nightingale was the first woman to have a great impact on nursing in India and had a close awareness of Indian conditions, particularly in the army.

She was interested in the nursing service for the civilian population, though her first interest was the welfare of the army in India.

In 1854 (in the Crimean war), when women nurses were considered as rare, Florence Nightingale shows her ability in nursing.

The works of Florence results in the formation of the Royal Commission. Army Medical School was established in the year 1857.

She established “Nightingale School for nurses”. In 1907, she gained “The Order of Merit” by the King.




The Bombay Presidency Nursing Association was the first state nursing association founded in 1890. In 1908, the Association of Trained Nurses was formed to uphold the dignity and respect of the nursing profession.

The first State Registration Council in Madras Nursing Council was constituted in 1926 and the Bombay Nursing Council was constituted in 1935.

In 1949, the Indian Nursing Council (INC) was founded to manage a uniform standard of coaching for nurses, midwives, and health visitors. and to regulate the standards of nursing in India.

In 1947 the INC Act was passed which was amended in 1950 and 1957. General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) courses were introduced in 1951, 1965, and 1986, ANM in 1974, and B.Sc. in 1981.




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