Dress and distinction in nursing, 1860-1939: "A corporate (as well as corporeal) armour of probity and purity


Brooks, J; Rafferty, AM; (2007) Dress and distinction in nursing, 1860-1939: "A corporate (as well as corporeal) armour of probity and purity. Women's history review, 16 (1). pp. 41-57. ISSN 0961-2025 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09612020601049678

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Abstract

This article considers the uniform and uniform rules which formed an important part of the 'reformed nurse' in the latter years of the nineteenth century and remained central to the concept of the nurse in the twentieth. It will be shown that the rules and regulations of nurses' garb continued long after the rules for women's dress in general had relaxed. These dress codes were used by the reformers of nursing to provide a 'space' between the 'new or reformed nurse' and her morally suspect predecessor, the Sairey Gamp figure in Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit. The nurses' garb was created to provide a common identity for the profession at a time of rapid social change. But within this context it also represented its distinctiveness; uniform was a metaphor for the class divisions and symbolic fractures within the profession.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Web of Science ID: 244104300003
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/9586

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