People at work: the nurse

The FoNS Team

With so much attention on what nursing and midwifery are, for example there’s the ‘Transforming the Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery’ campaign, ‘Nursing Now’  and even the NMC’s consultation on the regulation of nursing associates, it was timely to come across a copy of the 1963 Ladybird book, ‘People at Work: The Nurse’. It raised a few smiles in the office but did set us wondering. What would a 2018 version look like? And what about the views of the non-nursing population; does this book represent their views of nursing?

We decided to quote a few sections and invite your comments.

‘A nurse’s job is to look after people who are ill. Hospitals are full of sick people who need special care to help them get better. These sick people are called patients. Many nurses work in hospitals, taking care of patients.

Doctors in the hospitals find out about the patients’ illnesses. Then the doctors tell the nurses what to do to help the patients to get better. The nurses carry out the doctors’ orders and care for the patients until they are well enough to go home.’ Page 4

‘At first patients usually stay in bed all the time. The doctor visits them every day. He talks to the nurse in charge of the ward and tells her what treatment to give the patients. The nurse who is in charge of a ward is called the Sister.

When a patient begins to get better he may get up for part of the day. Then he can sit in an armchair or walk about the ward and talk to the other patients who are still in bed.’ Page 8

‘The nurses are always busy. Early in the morning they give the patients cups of tea. Then they help the patients to wash before breakfast.

Most of the patients are given breakfast in bed. After breakfast the beds are made and the wards are cleaned. The nurses give the patients the medicines and tablets which they need.

In hospital, patients go to sleep very early at night. The last job of the day-nurse is to see that all the patients are ready for sleep.’ Page 12


Southgate, V. and Havenhand, J. (1963) People at Work: The Nurse. Loughborough, UK: Ladybird.

The Nurse. Part of the ‘People at Work’ Series, Ladybird ‘Easy Reading’ books.

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