Every occupation has its own particular history that, in some respect at least, is unique. If scrutinized, closely enough, each occupation also possesses a unique contemporary pattern of structural and ideological features; for instance, its particular modes of, and ideas about, recruitment and education, its predominant types and places of work, its prevailing internal divisions of labor. Ordinarily when discussing occupations, historians pay strict attention to historical narrative but leave structural aspects implicitly or entirely secondary to the painstaking hunt for chronological accuracy; while sociologists, their gaze mainly upon the contemporary scene, confront the occupa-iton on its own contemporary grounds, and use occupational history only as a backdrop to the current drama. Additional insight can be gained by fusing both approaches. This chapter is an interpretation of how certain prominent structural and ideologies features of American nursing have evolved from certain historical conditions pertaining to the occupation and to the country at large.