Book Review: Rituals and Myths in Nursing- A Social History by Claire Laurent

Nursing is full of traditions and rituals. From hierarchies to bizarre procedures, Claire Laurent has captured an important aspect of nursing history and social behaviour in this beautifully written book.

When I opened Rituals and Myths in Nursing I instantly recognised some of the traditions that went on in hospitals in the 1980s and before. From Lancelot Spratt style ward rounds to making beds in certain ways and styling traditional nurses hats, it was all captured.

There are anecdotes from nurses of old and not so old, links to the author’s medical family, and a collection of both funny and poignant stories. Claire Laurent has also produced a tremendous sense of place of the atmosphere in a traditional hospital. The smells, the overbearing hierarchy, and the discipline are all featured, giving insight into how the place was ruled. There is an amusing abbreviations list, many of which were commonplace but are now strictly forbidden. The book has beautifully captured a time when nurses trained on wards and had many rituals associated with them, may of which now seem bizarre in a digital age. And yet there are more that are still so relevant in today’s hospitals.

An entertaining read that will enlighten many and bring back memories of nursing for more.

Rituals and Myths in Nursing- A Social History by Claire Laurent is published by Pen and Sword.  Buy your copy here.

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