Community Nursing and Primary Healthcare in Twentieth-Century Britain: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Community Nursing and Primary Healthcare in Twentieth-Century Britain

1st Edition

By Helen M. Sweet, with Rona Dougall


282 pages | 23 B/W Illus.

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This book takes a fresh look at community nursing history in Great Britain, examining the essentially generalist and low profile, domiciliary end of the professional nursing spectrum throughout the twentieth century. It charts the most significant changes affecting the nurse’s work on the district including compulsory registration for general nursing, changes in organization, training, conditions of service, and workload.

A strong oral history component provides a unique insight into the professional images of district nursing and the complexities of inter- and intra-professional relationships as well as into the changing day-to-day working experiences of the district nurse at ‘grass-roots’ level. Use of oral history and records of individual nurses attempts to rectify the tendency of nursing history to view nurses as if they were a homogenous group of professionals, thereby recognizing the different experiences of nurses in different regions and environments.

The book also considers the degree of influence of medically related technologies and of developments in drugs, materials, communications, and transport on the professional development of district nursing. The work addresses issues of gender relationships central to a nursing profession largely composed of women (throughout much of the period) working alongside a largely male-dominated medical profession.


'This book makes a significant contribution to the history of caring so needed anlongside the predominance of histories of management and professional formation in the canon of nursing publications.' Medical History

About the Authors

Dr Helen Sweet is currently working at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford, as a Research Associate.

Dr Rona Dougall is research Assistant at the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Social History of Medicine

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain