Negotiating nursing explores how the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Q.A.s) salvaged men within the sensitive gender negotiations of what should and could constitute nursing work and where that work could occur. The book argues that the Q.A.s, an entirely female force during the Second World War, were essential to recovering men physically, emotionally and spiritually from the battlefield and for the war, despite concerns about their presence on the frontline. The book maps the developments in nurses’ work as the Q.A.s created a legitimate space for themselves in war zones and established nurses’ position as the expert at the bedside. Using a range of personal testimony the book demonstrates how the exigencies of war demanded nurses alter the methods of nursing practice and the professional boundaries in which they had traditionally worked, in order to care for their soldier-patients in the challenging environments of a war zone. Although they may have transformed practice, their position in war was highly gendered and it was gender in the post-war era that prevented their considerable skills from being transferred to the new welfare state, as the women of Britain were returned to the home and hearth. The aftermath of war may therefore have augured professional disappointment for some nursing sisters, yet their contribution to nursing knowledge and practice was, and remains, significant.
Somehow it’s more than just good nursing that’s required of us, it’s endless
donkey work and then it’s endless interest in the boys and encouragement
and jokes, and endless sense of humour, and then there’s the job of amusing
them when they are getting better and then there’s the inevitable letters
Military success in war was contingent on men sustaining a determination to fight. Persuading men to continue fighting or returning
them to combat after illness or injury depended on maintaining their
morale. On active service
Challenging nursing spaces
In June 1944, Sister Agnes Morgan wrote to her mother from a CCS
We are frightfully short staffed as a lot of the girls are working at forward
F.D.S.s (field dressing stations) and we work like a C.C.S. except that we still
think of ourselves as a Hospital and strive to do the ‘little extra’ that makes
a difference between a C.C.S. and a Hospital! It is all impossible and rather
hopeless, as the tide of human misery and suffering streams in too fast for
us to do more than the bare necessities ... under canvas and all the
Negotiating the boundaries of
Captain Johnson, the dental officer, a quiet man, spoke next. ‘Treat for
shock. Pick out any loose teeth and bits of bone then put a stitch through
the tongue and tie it to a button on his jacket before you send him down the
line on a stretcher’. His audience winced. Civvy nursing was never like this.
These notes were probably intended for medical officers originally but they
startled us into thinking objectively about the kind of nursing we might
expect on active service.1
This quotation comes from Brenda
Colonial Caring covers over a century of colonial nursing by nurses from a wide range of countries including: Denmark, Britain, USA, Holland and Italy; with the colonised countries including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Nigeria, India, Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) and the Danish West Indies. It presents unique perspectives from which to interrogate colonialism and post-colonialism including aspects of race, cultural difference and implications of warfare and politics upon nursing. Viewing nursing’s development under colonial and post-colonial rule reveals different faces of a profession that superficially may appear to be consistent and coherent, yet in reality is constantly reinventing itself. Considering such areas as transnational relationships, class, gender, race and politics, this book aims to present current work in progress within the field, to better understand the complex entanglements in nursing’s development as it was imagined and practised in local imperial, colonial and post-colonial contexts. Taking a chronologically-based structure, early chapters examine nursing in situations of conflict in the post-Crimean period from the Indian Rebellion to the Anglo-Boer War. Recruitment, professionalisation of nursing and of military nursing in particular, are therefore considered before moving deeper into the twentieth century reflecting upon later periods of colonialism in which religion and humanitarianism become more central. Drawing from a wide range of sources from official documents to diaries, memoirs and oral sources, and using a variety of methodologies including qualitative and quantitative approaches, the book represents ground-breaking work.
The early years of nursing in the
Dutch East Indies, 1895–1920
Before 1900 there were almost no trained nurses to be found in
the Dutch East Indies. Medical progress called for qualified nurses.
Initially, the solution seemed to lie in importing nurses from the
Netherlands, but as they proved reluctant to travel to the colony, it
was decided to attempt to train local people instead: (Indo-) European
and Indonesian,1 male and female. Remarkably, while nursing was,
typically, considered a woman’s occupation in the mother country,
The First World War was the first ‘total war’. Its industrial weaponry damaged millions of men, and drove whole armies underground into dangerously unhealthy trenches. Many were killed. Others suffered from massive, life-threatening injuries; wound infections such as gas gangrene and tetanus; exposure to extremes of temperature; emotional trauma; and systemic disease. Tens of thousands of women volunteered to serve as nurses to alleviate their suffering. Some were fully-trained professionals; others had minimal preparation, and served as volunteer-nurses. Their motivations were a combination of compassion, patriotism, professional pride and a desire for engagement in the ‘great enterprise’ of war. The war led to an outpouring of war-memoirs, produced mostly by soldier-writers whose works came to be seen as a ‘literary canon’ of war-writing. But nurses had offered immediate and long-term care, life-saving expertise, and comfort to the war’s wounded, and their experiences had given them a perspective on industrial warfare which was unique. Until recently, their contributions, both to the saving of lives and to our understanding of warfare have remained largely hidden from view. ‘Nurse Writers of the Great War’ examines these nurses’ memoirs and explores the insights they offer into the nature of nursing and the impact of warfare. The book combines close biographical research with textual analysis, in order to offer an understanding of both nurses’ wartime experiences and the ways in which their lives and backgrounds contributed to the style and content of their writing.
Changes in nursing and mission in
Barbra Mann Wall
In 1914, Britain created the country of Nigeria by joining northern
and southern protectorates together. In a colonisation process that
lasted more than forty years, the British employed treaties, battles,
threats of deportation and collaboration with compliant local rulers
as they established a policy of ‘indirect rule’. Yet racial discrimination
and other forms of alienation led to anti-colonial protests and nationalist resistance movements. After the Second World War
Planned Obsolescence of Medical Humanitarian Missions: An Interview with
Tony Redmond, Professor and Practitioner of International Emergency Medicine and
Co-founder of HCRI and UK-Med
it can now live there and it will cover the
wound. But it requires specialist post-op nursing care to make sure it
doesn’t become infected. So, first you need an operating microscope, which
you’re not going to take with you, plus it’s complicated, and you need
specialist nurses for the post-op period.
So, many years ago I worked in Sarajevo, where they had a plastic-surgery centre.
Sarajevo was a leading plastic-surgery centre and lots of war wounds needed
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe
need for international involvement became more pressing when it became obvious
that the blockade imposed by the Nigerian government was having a serious effect.
Children and nursing mothers, who were the major victims of the war, were dying in
thousands daily due to kwashiorkor (acute protein deficiency) and marasmus. So the
people of Biafra had to engage Markpress, a Geneva-based public relations firm to
sell their war aims to the global community. Markpress did a very good job by