By Robert Dingwall
In contemporary years the examine of nursing background in Britain has been remodeled by way of the applying of options 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 through social and technological swap. many of the paintings has been scattered in monographs, journals and edited collections.
The abilities 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 newest scholarship. The account begins by means of the kind of nursing care to be had in 1800. This was once frequently supplied by way of the in poor health person's relatives or family servants. It lines the interdependent progress of common nursing and the trendy sanatorium and examines the separate origins and eventual integration of psychological nursing, district nursing, future health traveling and midwifery. It concludes with reflections at the clients for nursing within the 12 months 2000.
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Although it cannot have been easy to sustain good relationships with the sensitive and autocratic Florence, her family actually seem to have been a considerable source of support in her various adventures (Smith 1982:18–21). If they occasionally opposed her, it may have been less a matter of simple prejudice than of their recognition of her impulsive character and a rationalist suspicion of her mystic religious tendencies. These religious enthusiasms are an important element in understanding Florence Nightingale’s work.
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.
The different judgements may reflect the different standards of the genteel reformers and the professional surgeons. Were hospitals to be compared with the homes of the servantkeeping classes or with army barracks and field service conditions? Was the alleged problem of supply actually the result of an influx of inexperienced medical staff and orderlies who did not know how to work the system? The doctors certainly thought that the cholera epidemics were the result of misfortune rather than mismanagement and there is evidence that they were applying to the best of their ability the theories of the time about the prevention of transmission.
An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing by Robert Dingwall