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By Robert Dingwall

In contemporary years the learn of nursing heritage in Britain has been remodeled through the applying of techniques and strategies 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 profession formed and reshaped by way of social and technological swap. 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 recent nursing within the mild of the newest scholarship. The account begins via taking a look at the kind of nursing care to be had in 1800. This was once often supplied via the in poor health person's family members or loved ones servants. It strains the interdependent progress of basic nursing and the fashionable sanatorium and examines the separate origins and eventual integration of psychological nursing, district nursing, well-being traveling and midwifery. It concludes with reflections at the clients for nursing within the yr 2000.

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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing

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Sisterhood nursing was organized by and accountable to social superiors. Thus the type of deviance represented by sickness was ceasing to be a purely local concern but being brought within a wider framework of social control. The nurses, disciplined like domestic servants, bore the same discipline into the homes or wards where they worked. Similar medical-hygienic concerns are also evident in the pressures for change that were brought to bear on the workhouses 29 The Revolution in Nursing where the sick and poor received most of their care.

As Baly (1987:4) points out, the nurses earned their keep by being sent out to private employment. The care of the sick poor was something which they did between paying engagements. The precarious economies of financing home nursing on a charitable basis also forced the same compromise on later, more secular schemes, generally to the detriment of their service to the poor (Baly 1987:20). But the model of the sisterhoods did make an important contribution to the reconceptualization of nursing. In contrast to the ordinary duties of the hospital nurse or the independent handywoman, the work of the sisterhood nurse took on an explicitly moral character.

Poor Law medical practice was closely associated with the discipline of the workhouse. It was the medical officer who determined which inmates were ‘able-bodied’ and required a corrective regime designed to deter them from idleness. The medical officer also had to decide whether inmates who broke workhouse rules were fit enough to withstand the resulting punishments. All of this generated a good deal of paperwork which, together with the constant accounting to the board of guardians, made the practice unattractive to the medical profession.

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