Three words encapsulate the contribution of Lydia Hall (1906-1969) to nursing theory: care, cure and core. Hall’s Cure, Cure and Core Theory of Nursing developed over time as Hall learned from other nurse pioneers like Lillian Wald, John Dewey and Carl Rogers. Her theory describes three independent circles that are critical to nursing care:
- Core – The patient receiving the nursing care
- Cure – The attention given to patients by medical professionals (including nurses, physicians, physical therapists and others)
- Care – The care and tasks that nurses must perform to help patients
A Nurse by Age 21
Born in New York City, Hall graduated from York Hospital School of Nursing in 1927 with a diploma, but she wasn’t satisfied. She enrolled at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University and earned a BSN in public health nursing in 1932. She started her nursing career but it wasn’t long before Hall was back in school for a master’s degree in teaching of natural life sciences, at Columbia once again. She later completed all requirements for a doctorate except for the dissertation.
A Wealth of Experience
Hall gained experience working as an RN for the Life Extension Institute of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Pennsylvania in New York, focused on preventative health. She worked for the New York Heart Association from 1935 to 1940 and the Visiting Nurses Association of New York from 1941 to 1947.
Her personality was drawn to teaching, and Hall became a professor at her alma mater, Teacher’s College at Columbia, starting in 1950. Around this time, she became interested in research and became focused on the rehabilitation of chronically ill patients. That is what led to the development of her Care, Cure, Core Theory.
Loeb Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation
Hall’s research led to her involvement in the creation of the Loeb Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. The Solomon and Betty Loeb Memorial Home for Convalescents had provided community services at Montefiore Hospital for many years. In 1957, a new facility was established, and Hall was asked to become the Loeb Center’s first director.
The Loeb Center became an example of nursing-led care for patients needing rehabilitation. Her and others’ work was emulated around the Untied States and Canada, and Hall published many articles about her theory, suggesting that nurses are patient advocates and the motivation to heal exists within patients themselves.
A Hall of Fame Inductee
Hall received the Teacher’s College Nursing Education Alumni Association Achievement in Nursing Practice Award and was a Nursing Hall of Fame inductee in1967. She died two years later in 1969.
A Champion for Evidence-Based Practice
“In many ways, Lydia Hall set the tone for what we teach today in colleges and universities: that nursing practice must be rooted in compassion,” says Karen Whitham, associate dean, nursing and healthcare at American Sentinel University. “Her theory of nursing care really emphasizes the patient’s needs above all else and elevates the importance of nurturing patients toward wellness and health. In the areas of long-term care, she studied how to treat the underlying chronic disease and not just the acute issues that patients face. Her efforts elevated nursing as a true profession.”
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