Dr Janet Hargreaves is a retired nurse lecturer with a continuing interest in nursing history. She has researched nurse education in the 1940s and 50s, nursing in conflict in Ireland in the early 19th century and in more recent years through oral histories with Médecins Sans Frontières nurses. Having retired to the small Cumbrian village of Arnside, she was intrigued to find detailed archives of the Arnside & District Nursing Association – which is the origins of this talk.  

Rural South Cumbria is characterised by numerous small villages and hamlets, separated by salt marshes, woods and limestone crags, leading to limited road and rail infrastructures. Whilst community nursing was available in cities from at least 1850, bringing nursing [and midwifery] to the widely dispersed inhabitants of the area was expensive and required a high degree of ingenuity and local voluntary effort.

This presentation uses the records of the old county-wide [Westmorland] and local [Arnside & District] Nursing Association minutes, along with other archival records and published histories to tell the story of the challenges faced to bring a full-time resident village nurse to Arnside. One Nurse: Mary Kerr, held the post of village nurse from 1937 -1945. Exploring her life as the village nurse brings the origins and spirit of the role, and its place in the development of community nursing, clearly into focus.

This talk will locate the Arnside and District Nursing Association within the wider development of community nursing and use a typical day in the life of Mary Kerr to bring the role to life.

This talk will take place in CRV016 (the Music Room) at the Wheeler Building – all welcome.

Host: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Society (FHMS) Historical Society

Admission is free, but booking encouraged for refreshment and seating purposes. Please contact fhsc.histsoc@chester.ac.uk or call 01244 512126 to confirm your place.

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