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Rituals & Myths in Nursing (Paperback)

A Social History

P&S History Social History 19th Century

By Claire Laurent
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781473896611
Published: 30th October 2019

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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 Bedford 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.

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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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