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Nuns and nurses: debates on new nursing programs and improving the training of "secondary hospital personnel" in France, 1890-1910



Nuns and nurses: debates on new nursing programs and improving the training of "secondary hospital personnel" in France, 1890-1910



Nursing History Review 17: 80-100



A major controversy in French medicine at the turn of the 20th century was how to improve the training and education of hospital nurses. In 1899 the new government agency responsible for health and social services, the Conseil Supérieur de l'Assistance, encouraged setting up new nursing schools and imposing a curriculum to be followed by all. The Conseil discussion concerning these steps was very heated. Some councilors demanded the dismissal of all the religious nursing orders as a first step toward improving nursing services. Others favored efforts to educate all the nurses possible, be they religious or lay, leaving it to the municipalities to decide on the internal organization of their hospitals. To examine the issues faced by both choices, the article analyzes two cases of hospitals that went on to adopt each of the different orientations discussed: Le Havre, which set up a nursing school and kept its nuns, and Valence, which sent off its religious congregation and tried to set up a nursing school.

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Accession: 054686821

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PMID: 20067082


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