Pus, pedagogy and practice
How ‘dirt’ shaped surgical nurse training and hierarchies of practice, 1900–1935
in Germs and governance
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During the period between 1900 and 1935, surgical success depended not only on the surgeon’s operative skill in the face of difficult challenges during surgery, but also on the prevention of sepsis. Pre- and post-operative care was mainly directed at preventing or managing infection, and was the relatively new professional sphere of the nurse. Training nurses skilled in surgical nursing was therefore vital to both the patient’s recovery and the surgeon’s success. This chapter uses the idea of ‘dirt’ to explore how sepsis, particularly in its most dangerous form of pus, shaped surgical nurse training and practice in the 1900-1935 period.

Germs and governance

The past, present and future of hospital infection, prevention and control


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