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Rituals & Myths in Nursing (Audiobook)

A Social History

P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > Social History Women of History

By Claire Laurent
Narrated by: Poppy Manley
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 798.7 MB (.zip)
Format: MP3 audio file – digital download only
ISBN: 9781399013239
Published: 7th October 2019



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History Hit

An article written by the author for Dan Snow's History Hit: '6 Historical Rituals of Nursing.' 

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Nursing is a complex profession steeped in tradition and history. Tried and tested ways of working have been the mainstay of how and why nurses do what they do. Completing tasks in a certain way because “Sister says so” describes the custom and practice of nursing, passed on through the generations that existed for most of the 20th Century and can still hold sway today.

Science and evidence-based practice have weakened the hold on tradition but ritual is still part of the fabric of nursing. Packed with amusing and sometimes poignant reminiscences this book paints a picture of nursing from the first registration of SRN No 1, Ethel Gordon Fenwick in 1919, to the present day.

Each chapter follows a theme, explores the historical background and brings it to life with stories told by nurses from different eras. We have tales of alcohol prescribed to dilate blood vessels or simply for the feel good factor. Enemas were less fun, given for almost all bowel conditions; ‘High, hot and a helluva lot!’ was the phrase for remembering this ritual.

Written with humour and a light touch, readers don’t need a nursing background to enjoy these stories, but those who trained as nurses will identify with many of the amusing and often eccentric traditions retold by generations of nurses.

Laurent’s book is an interesting read.

The Folklore Society

This book is a delight. It’s full of many voices, from different eras, from nurses that had worked in a variety of specialties, all sharing personal stories or stories that they had heard on their jobs. Some are emotional, some funny, and I must warn people who are squeamish about illnesses and bodily functions, as there are some anecdotes that might make them cringe. But anybody who enjoys books about nursing, social history, or just a genuine story with plenty of heart, should read this book. And if you know any nurses or anybody interested in the topic don’t forget to recommend it. It’s a great homage to a profession that has always been and remains, a true caring profession.

Read the full review here

Author Translator

The book is a wonderful catalyst for reminiscence and discussion, not only for nurses who trained in the 20th century, but also for nurses practising now, who may gain some insight into how things have progressed since the days of Florence Nightingale. If you had a nurse in your family, or a relative as an inpatient in hospital at some point, this book covers some of the experiences they might have had... well researched with thoughtful insights into this profession, and the book is a good read.

Read the full review here

Lost Cousins

I found the book was excellent, well written and so easy to read. It wasn’t packed with jargon or ‘on the job talk’. It’s a balanced book full of not only funny and amusing stories or anecdotes but it is told from nurses who have done the job throughout the years.

The book isn’t written with you needing to have had nursing training it’s a book that gets over to the everyman. Some of the stories are corkers and some I have heard worse. Just remind to only ever eat my own Malteasers, then we can all be safe. Because of the way the book is written nobody is obviously made fun of, it’s just a friendly laugh of a book. I would recommend this book to anyone to read and the story of hardworking nurses shines through.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

It's exactly one hundred years since SRN1 Ethel Bedford Fenwick was registered as a state registered nurse, and Claire's brilliant book about how nursing has evolved lays bare all the practices that make this profession one of the most undervalued in today's heartless right wing society. I'm a huge fan of Holby City and Casualty (in the UK, of course, but they have followers all over the world, I believe), and they do their bit to try to bring attention to the way our nurses (and doctors) are treated by a self-serving and callous right wing government (at the time of writing, this is still the case). A thoroughly enjoyable look at the nursing profession.

Books Monthly

I love this book so much! The author has such a way with words that I never felt like I didn’t know what was going on. Every chapter was a wonderful mix of humorous stories, life saving moments and examples of the strict rules of nursing! It is such a realistic insight into nursing, written from obviously a slightly biased view point because the author is a nurse, but she covers both the positives and the negatives to give a very honest, well rounded perspective on what it was like.

It was lovely to read a non-fiction book with a bit of personality too! I loved the chatty writing style, how it almost felt you were sitting down and chatting with the author! It definitely made me feel welcome in reading the book, and that I wasn’t putting my nose in an area it doesn’t belong!

This book is definitely very ‘user friendly’ in that I feel it is accessible to anyone that has an interest in nursing. Whether that’s because they are a nurse, what to be a nurse, have family history in nursing or horsefly even just that they have watched Call the Midwife and want some more factual information on the profession in the era!

I couldn’t recommend this book enough, it is probably my favourite Pen and Sword book yet!

I can’t give this any lower the 6/5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ to be honest! I just adored it!

See the full review here

Dainty Beth

As featured by

Daily Mail 2/11/19

About Claire Laurent

Claire Laurent is a writer and nurse with a family rich in nurses, medics and midwives. After qualifying from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, Claire trained as a journalist with Nursing Mirror. Years as a freelance health journalist followed, as well as a Masters in Public Health with several roles in that field. However, it was a partial return to clinical nursing that inspired this book recognising the complexity of modern nursing versus its strong traditions.

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