Posted by Kristen Hyde on August 11, 2016 in Ancestry.com Site
Janet Davies, Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive and General Secretary, explores the new nursing register collection and shines a spotlight on the record of one of the RCN’s founders, Sarah Swift.
"The Nursing Registers are an incredibly significant collection – especially as they have been digitised during the Royal College of Nursing’s centenary year. Typically, professional registers are predominately male, but at 1.6 million records, this is one of the largest collections of mostly female records.
Nursing, circa 1930s Nurse registration in the UK began on 30 September 1921.Prior to this, registers of nurses were held by individual hospitals and were not consistent. One of the RCN’s first campaigns was for the standardisation of the nursing registers.
As such, this collection will add to the ongoing study of nursing and women’s history and allow interested researchers to find out more about those who were working in nursing from the point it became an established profession. It will also allow individuals to find out about the lives and contributions made by their family members.
Nursing during the First World War, 1916
A look into the records
The RCN’s founder, Sarah Swift, can be found in this new trove of digitised records. As her record shows, she was trained in the Dundee Royal Infirmary and received her certificate in nursing in 1880. By 1909, she had retired as the matron of Guy’s Hospital. Her extensive experience and contacts with the matrons of large and prestigious hospitals meant that she was ideally placed to champion the formation of the College of Nursing.
She founded the College, which later became the Royal College of Nursing, in 1916 in partnership with Arthur Stanley MP. He shared her vision to promote high standards in nursing. They were driven to do so by the experience of World War One, when many women acted as nurses without formal training or regulation. Sarah Swift has been described as a tireless worker. She referred to the foundation of the RCN as one of her “off jobs” done outside work. She was made a Dame in 1919 for her wartime work.
For more information on the RCN’s centenary, visit The RCN."
Great Famine victims’ teeth contain evidence of starvationScientists make breakthrough by studying the remains of victims of Irish potato blight.Scientific evidence of starvation has been extracted from the teeth of people who died in the Famine in the 19th-century.
It is the first time analysis of the stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon in human teeth has been used to establish markers for starvation.
Some of the individuals studied by Julia Beaumont of the University of Bradford and Janet Montgomery of Durham University had survived earlier periods of famine before the Great Famine of 1845-52, when the Irish potato crop on which the poor were dependent totally failed in successive years.
Others died of malnutrition after trying to survive on a diet of imported American maize, the main ingredient distributed in food aid, and used for most workhouse meals.
The researchers’ analysis suggests that the changing levels of nitrogen and carbon have been wrongly interpreted in the past, when they were seen as indicators of a high-status rich diet.
In fact, their grim discovery is that it is really evidence of body tissue breaking down and being recycled, as the starving human literally consumes itself.
Read the full article in The Irish Times Wed, Aug 10, 2016