Manuscripts and Special Collections

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Textbooks from earlier centuries describe the development of patient care. The rise of nursing as a profession is recorded through the experience of Florence Nightingale and later nurses.

The Edinburgh surgeon John Bell placed great emphasis on the "common and humble duties of the profession", such as effective use of bandages. He explains:

"...a bandage is not merely useful in tying up a wound, but in accomplishing many important operations in surgery, more interesting, indeed, than those which are done with the knife. In wounds, in abscess, in fistulas, in any general disease of a limb, bandaging is the chief operation of surgery; what the knife cures, it partly destroys; what the bandage cures, it saves."

A copy of Bell's 'Principles of Surgery' (1801) forms part of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society Collection.

The image of a nurse as a "ministering angel" has its origin in stories of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean war. With her commitment and capacity for administration, she was influential in transforming the nursing profession in the 19th century.

Florence Nightingale's local connection is preserved in the University's Florence Nightingale Collection of books and in the name of the Nightingale Hall of Residence.

Nurse Winifred Welch was born in Basford, Nottingham, and trained and worked in local hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Her surviving papers reveal something of the career of a nurse in the early 20th century.

Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.

Head bandages Zoom in

Head bandages

Florence Nightingale Zoom in

Florence Nightingale

Nurse Welch Zoom in

Nurse Welch

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