Download An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing by Robert Dingwall PDF

By Robert Dingwall

In fresh years the examine of nursing background in Britain has been remodeled via the applying of options and techniques from the social sciences to unique resources. 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 means of social and technological switch. many 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 historical past of recent nursing within the gentle of the most recent scholarship. The account starts off via taking a look at the kind of nursing care to be had in 1800. This used to be frequently supplied by way of the ill person's relatives or loved ones servants. It strains the interdependent progress of common nursing and the fashionable sanatorium and examines the separate origins and eventual integration of psychological nursing, district nursing, healthiness vacationing and midwifery. It concludes with reflections at the customers for nursing within the yr 2000.

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Were there one such woman with power to direct the flow of volunteer help nearly everywhere running to waste, in every street of London’s East End, almost might the East End be persuaded to become Christian. (Quoted by Cook 1913:97) Her interest in service to the community appears to have begun to focus on public health questions during the 1840s. But, again, it is important not to see this as somehow exceptional or unique. Sanitary reform was one of the great political issues of the day and her father’s friends were among its leading advocates.

Her improvements had as much to do with increasing the productivity of the staff and enhancing the sanitary conditions as with directly improving the comfort of the patients. 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.

The whole situation was compounded by epidemics of cholera. Snow’s research pointing to the water-borne transmission of the disease was only just available and was not fully accepted by the army until 1896. On the nursing side experienced able-bodied orderlies were recalled for combat duties and replaced by inexperienced men who were unfit for active service. They were asked to work in hospitals and casualty stations overflowing with severely injured and sick men and organized on a model designed for small peacetime establishments catering for minor injuries and illnesses.

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