Nursing and surgery: professionalisation, education and innovation

Rosemary Wall, Christine E. Hallett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Nurses played an essential role in the major developments in surgery between the mid-nineteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries. This chapter focuses on the Anglo-American world, weaving in original research with a historiographical review. Three strands run through the chapter—professionalisation, education, and innovation. Professionalisation includes the changing role and perception of nurses within both hospital and military arenas. Textbooks reveal the changing surgical knowledge required for nursing, but also illustrate continuity in education and in practices, such as preparing a domestic home for surgery, which nurses did well into the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Handbook of the History of Surgery
EditorsThomas Schlich
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781349952601
ISBN (Print)9781349952595, 9781349957774
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018


  • general nurses
  • surgical nursing
  • scrub nurses
  • mobile army surgical hospital (MASHs)
  • Helmstadter


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