By Robert Dingwall
In contemporary years the examine of nursing background in Britain has been reworked by way of the appliance of thoughts and techniques from the social sciences to unique assets. The myths and legends that have grown up via a century of anecdotal writing were chipped away to bare the advanced tale of an career formed and reshaped by way of social and technological switch. lots of the paintings has been scattered in monographs, journals and edited collections.
The talents of a social historian, a sociologist and a graduate nurse were introduced jointly to reconsider the heritage of contemporary nursing within the mild of the newest scholarship. The account starts off via the kind of nursing care to be had in 1800. This used to be frequently supplied by way of the in poor health person's family members or family servants. It lines the interdependent progress of common nursing and the trendy clinic and examines the separate origins and eventual integration of psychological nursing, district nursing, overall healthiness traveling and midwifery. It concludes with reflections at the clients for nursing within the 12 months 2000.
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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing
Indeed, she was profoundly suspicious of them and imposed a much stricter discipline on their lives, reducing their diets and rigidly enforcing rules about the length of stay permitted. As Smith (1982:13–16) points out, the result was to precipitate an acute state of chaos and a financial crisis. The patients and servants voted with their feet. Within twelve months she seems to have run through two complete sets of servants and there was only one nurse left in employment by August 1854. The bed occupancy never seems to have exceeded 30 per cent.
In 1835, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital had appointed its first ‘operation nurse’ specifically to care for surgical patients (Hawker 1987:148). Ward nurses were gradually distinguished from servants. The Nursing Committee of Salisbury Infirmary recommended in 1856, for instance, that ‘in future the wards be cleaned and scoured by persons engaged for that purpose and your nurses kept in every particular distinct from the servants of the establishment’ (Woodward 1974:33). Sisters began to be recruited on a supernumerary basis so that they could learn the role before taking over a ward of their own.
The first opportunity to put her theories into practice came when she was appointed Superintendent of an ‘Establishment for Gentlewomen during Illness’ in August 1853. It was a type of institution that was developing in London at this period to provide accommodation for single middle-class people who needed medical care and had no family at hand, or for patients from out of London. The voluntary hospitals were still mainly for the working class. Of the 10,414 patients recorded by the 1861 census only 157 were grouped as ‘professional people’ and 14 as ‘persons of Rank or Property’ (Abel-Smith 1964:41).