By Robert Dingwall
In fresh years the learn of nursing heritage in Britain has been reworked via the applying of suggestions 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 complicated 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 historical past of contemporary nursing within the mild of the most recent scholarship. The account starts off by means of taking a look at the kind of nursing care to be had in 1800. This was once frequently supplied via the in poor health person's relatives or family servants. It strains the interdependent development of basic nursing and the fashionable clinic and examines the separate origins and eventual integration of psychological nursing, district nursing, wellbeing and fitness traveling and midwifery. It concludes with reflections at the clients for nursing within the 12 months 2000.
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Extra info for An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing
Of more interest here is the struggle to define what the work of a nurse was and who should do it, a conflict of principles which exacerbated the clashes between the forceful women and men involved. As Summers (1983:41–2, 47) notes, the Crimea was the arena for an important confrontation between two very different models of the proper relationship between working-class women and their employers. The paid nurses were used to working under ordinary conditions of employment in the open market for labour.
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). The remainder were wage-earners in industry, domestic service or agriculture. If the wealthy wanted treatment by a London consultant they either paid him to travel to them or took a house in London. The less affluent provincial sick, 39 The New Model Nurse however, took lodgings in the neighbourhood of the great men’s consulting rooms, where they could be visited and treated.
The conceptual changes in medicine which led to the reorganization of existing hospitals and the construction of new ones in the early Victorian period were driven as much by these ideas as by any simple change in medical technology (Foucault 1973). But asylums are an inefficient means of re-making a society. If they are made too attractive they undermine the incentives to comply with social discipline. If they are too repressive, those marked for incarceration may evade it and pose an even greater threat from their rootless nonconformity.