An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing by Robert Dingwall

By Robert Dingwall

In fresh years the learn of nursing historical past in Britain has been remodeled via the applying of strategies 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 profession formed and reshaped via social and technological swap. 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 on hand in 1800. This used to be often supplied through the ill person's kin or family servants. It strains the interdependent progress of common nursing and the fashionable health facility and examines the separate origins and eventual integration of psychological nursing, district nursing, overall healthiness traveling and midwifery. It concludes with reflections at the customers for nursing within the 12 months 2000.

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The King’s post would allow her to train volunteers, who would necessarily come from affluent backgrounds, over a paid staff of ‘farmers’ daughters’. Much as she might personally have resisted the conclusion, it is hard to see Florence Nightingale’s contribution to nursing before 1854 as constituting a radical break from the philanthropic approach. Her differences with the sisterhoods are as much a reflection of her sense of having a unique vocation and her Unitarian education as of substance. The language in which she expressed her ideas is less marked by sectarian religiosity and owes a greater debt to secular, scientific work on public health.

This sect had developed a strong tradition of social activism since the accusations of an unpatriotic refusal to contribute to the nation provoked by its members’ pacifism during the Napoleonic Wars (Fears 1977, 1978). Miss Fry had been to visit the hospital at Kaiserwerth in Germany run by Pastor Fliedner, whom she had known since the 1820s, and his deaconesses, eleven years before a similar trip by Florence Nightingale. She was equally inspired by this example of a Christian community which also provided home nursing in the locality.

On the other, Florence Nightingale was unimpressed by the priority given to Godliness over cleanliness, although she never publicly criticized the poor diet and hygiene recorded in her private notes. Simply caring was insufficient unless it was allied to concern for the sanitary conditions of the patient. 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.

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