Tommy Dickinson

2 Work and practice of mental nurses, 1930–1959 It seemed like the order of the day was to do things to patients, whether that was shock them into next week, pump them full of insulin or carve away at their brains. Although we can all look back on this in horror – at the time, it was exciting; we believed we could actually cure patients, whereas before such treatments, there was little hope of it. It was just what we did; we didn’t really think to question it.1 Introduction Nurses were introduced to two new legislative frameworks brought in by the Mental

in ‘Curing queers’
Debbie Palmer

5 Industrial psychology’s influence on the recruitment and welfare of general and mental nurses, 1930–48 In 1939, Gladys Beaumont Carter, a nurse at King’s College Hospital, London, complained that bullying was common in nursing and that it ‘hindered psychological progress’. It was encouraged by rigid hospital hierarchies, Carter argued, that inflated ward sisters’ and matrons’ power over student nurses: ‘autocracies are suspect, and modern psychologists frank about the motives of matrons and sisters who feel the need to hedge themselves round with forms and

in Who cared for the carers?
Abstract only
Mental nurses and their patients, 1935–74
Author: Tommy Dickinson

Anecdotal evidence of the testimonies of patients who received treatments for sexual deviations and medical attitudes towards them are scattered in the recorded accounts of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex and queer/questioning (GLBTIQ) people. This book examines the plight of men who were institutionalised in British mental hospitals to receive 'treatment' for homosexuality and transvestism, and the perceptions and actions of the men and women who nursed them. It explores why the majority of the nurses followed orders in administering the treatment - in spite of the zero success-rate in 'straightening out' queer men - but also why a small number surreptitiously defied their superiors by engaging in fascinating subversive behaviours. The book is specifically about the treatments developed for sexual deviations in the UK. Transvestism was also treated fairly widely; however, not to the same extent as homosexuality. After an examination of the oppression and suppression of the sexual deviant, the introduction of aversion therapies for sexual deviance is considered. During the 1930s-1950s, mental health care witnessed a spirit of 'therapeutic optimism' as new somatic treatments and therapies were introduced in mental hospitals. The book also examines the impact these had on the role of mental nurses and explores how such treatments may have essentially normalised nurses to implement painful and distressing 'therapeutic' interventions . The book interprets the testimonies of these 'subversive nurses'. Finally, it explores the inception of 'nurse therapists' and discusses their role in administering aversion therapy.

Tommy Dickinson

resolve to support the ‘underdog’. In an occupation such as nursing, with its tradition of a hierarchical style of administration where experience in terms of years of service counts, and the quest of knowledge for its own sake is given a low priority, university nurses may have been seen to defy a moral order which formed the basis for the ranking system. Therefore, Elizabeth may have been perceived with suspicion by the mental nurses she was working alongside. First, she was already an SRN, and such nurses were often viewed by mental nurses as predominately middle

in ‘Curing queers’
Abstract only
Tommy Dickinson

. The stresses of institutional life may have destabilised the individual initiative of mental nurses: insensitive staff discipline, fears of victimisation and the betrayal and abuse of colleagues and senior staff may have threatened the performance of even the most conscientious nurse. However, the most noteworthy feature within such institutions appears to have been the passive obedience of nurses to authority. The nurses within this book are presented as if they were polar opposites. The reality was much more complex and it may be too simplistic to present them as

in ‘Curing queers’
Tommy Dickinson

received mixed and muddled messages regarding their patients’ place  in society. Public debate surrounding sexual deviations refocused on to issues of aetiology rather than punishment, in a highly charged discourse which centred on finding a cure.2 This chapter draws upon publications within the medical press and news media, along with literary, film, legal and sociological depictions of homosexuality to explore the complex social and cultural climate in which the homosexuals, transvestites and mental nurses were living from the 1930s to the 1960s. In doing so, it offers

in ‘Curing queers’
The policies of professionalisation in English mental hospitals from 1919 to 1959
John Hall

, including patterns of occupation, and without their consent no new treatments could be introduced into a hospital. The 1933 Board of Control memorandum had stressed that all occupations were to be ‘under medical direction’.40 The first British textbook on OT, directed principally at mental nurses, was written by the medical superintendent of the North Riding Mental Hospital at Clifton Hospital in York, Dr Iveson Russell, in 1938.41 Junior doctors learned largely by informal apprenticeship under a superintendent, but would also read the Journal of Mental Science, and books

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
A history of the occupational health of nurses, 1880–1948
Author: Debbie Palmer

This book compares the histories of psychiatric and voluntary hospital nurses’ health from the rise of the professional nurse in 1880 to the advent of the National Health Service in 1948. In the process it reveals the ways national ideas about the organisation of nursing impacted on the lives of ordinary nurses. It explains why the management of nurses’ health changed over time and between places and sets these changes within a wider context of social, political and economic history. High rates of sickness absence in the nursing profession attract increasing criticism. Nurses took more days of sick in 2011 than private sector employees and most other groups of public sector workers. This book argues that the roots of today’s problems are embedded in the ways nurses were managed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It documents the nature of nurses’ health problems, the ways in which these problems were perceived and how government, nurse organisations, trade unions and hospitals responded. It offers insights not only into the history of women’s work but also the history of disease and the ways changing scientific knowledge shaped the management of nurses’ health. Its inclusion of male nurses and asylum nursing alongside female voluntary hospital nurses sheds new light on the key themes to preoccupy nurse historians today, particularly social class, gender and the issue of professionalisation.

Recruitment and retention in mental health nursing in England, 1948-68
Claire Chatterton

Parliament. The mental nursing shortage remained high on the political agenda throughout the 1950s and the 1960s. Mental nursing has been described by Charles Webster, official historian of the NHS, as ‘the single, most intractable nursing problem of the early NHS’.3 This chapter will consider why mental nursing experienced such severe shortages during this period and the effectiveness of the strategies that were introduced to address this. 169 Mental health nursing Why was it so difficult to recruit and retain mental nurses during this period? The serious and

in Mental health nursing
Nursing shell-shocked patients in Cardiff during the First World War
Anne Borsay and Sara Knight

seeking to work in local general hospitals, although it must be noted that several CCMH probationers had to leave because they were unable to pass the MPA examinations. Reforming doctors, many drawing on their experiences of the Scottish asylum system, had long argued that staff training had many benefits in terms of recruitment as well as care. Dr George M. Robertson (Royal Edinburgh Asylum) published his ideas about mental nurses, with much emphasis placed on the importance of the 83 Mental health nursing Handbook for Attendants on the Insane.39 The Handbook had

in Mental health nursing