‘To help a million sick, you must kill a few nurses’
The impact of the campaign for professional status on nurses’ health, 1890–1914
in Who cared for the carers?
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Chapter one examines the impact of the late nineteenth-century debate about nurse registration on ideas about the health of nurses. Between 1888-90, the mortality and morbidity rate among The London Hospital nurses dramatically increased and critics alleged that its cause was linked to matron Eva Luckes’ increasing power and political opposition to nurse registration. Using evidence from the inquiry called to investigate the problem, this chapter contrasts Luckes’ ideology about the organisation of nursing and the care of sick nurses with that of Harriet Hopkins, matron of the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital and a staunch supporter of nurse registration. The disparity between these women’s ideas is then contrasted with those of the Cornwall Lunatic Asylum matrons who expressed no interest in the politics of nursing and enjoyed little power.

Who cared for the carers?

A history of the occupational health of nurses, 1880–1948


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