Sunday, 16 September 2012

General Nursing Council Register

I'm lucky enough to have a couple of editions of the General Nursing Council Register here - one for 1928 and one for 1942 - which have proved a real asset when trying to find individual women, where they trained and when.  They are very hefty volumes - the smaller 1928 version runs to 2,000 pages and around 60,000 entries, and by 1942 the increase in the number of trained nurses has resulted in three books of that size making up just the one year. A complete run of the Registers for England and Wales are available at The National Archives, but I thought I'd add a page here as an example of what they offer.

There are some interesting patterns that run through the Registers, and one seems to be the tendency for sisters to train in different hospitals.  Because of the obvious age differences, there could be some years between each sister starting her training, but even when their training coincided they seem to have preferred to be apart. I wonder if the one who started first found it so arduous and spartan at her particular hospital that she urged her sibling to look elsewhere.  One extreme case is that of Alice and Margaret Behn from the Isle of Man, whose training did overlap, but with one in Liverpool and the other in London.  There must have been a great deal of rivalry and comparing of hardship when they met!

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