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Nurse education

Educating Nurses
Behind me, this boiler house is on the site of Liverpool’s first school of nursing. I think it’s a first purpose built school of nursing outside of London that was ever built. Florence Nightingale came back to Britain from Crimea in 1860 and she set up the school of nursing in St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, using funds that came from the Nightingale fund - public subscription set up in her honour when she returned from Crimea. But by 1862, Liverpool was ready to go with its own school of nursing. And a purpose built facility was put up there. It’s a curious looking building by modern standards for a school, because within the school, there is no classroom and there’s no library.
This was a series of bedrooms. And the idea was that the students would learn in the hospital, which again is behind me. They would stay in the school and they would be educated at work. School was hospital. Hospital was home.
Florence Nightingale set this school up and it was funded by William Rathbone - a local mercantile philanthropist. He was also responsible for the funding of Liverpool’s first district nursing scheme and also a scheme to bring proper nursing care to the inmates of the infirmary of the workhouse. It was the biggest workhouse in the country and it represented the radical break with the principles of the Poor Law. The Poor Law demanded that nobody could expect in a workhouse anything that they couldn’t expect outside the workhouse, if they were working poor. Therefore, if you were being cared for in the workhouse hospital, you couldn’t expect anything extra. What Florence Nightingale and William Rathbone introduced was a principle.
And that was this– that if you are sick, you enter a different category of personhood, if you like, that if you are sick, it shouldn’t matter if you are rich or poor, that you deserve, as a sick person, a decent standard of nursing care. This was a radical break with the tradition of the Poor Law.

Florence Nightingale and William Rathbone, a Liverpool philanthropist, worked together to create the first school of nursing in Liverpool, which at the time was the second in the country. Here, an overview of the nursing education system is given. How does this differ from the way nurses are educated in your country/region?

Optional Reading

Follow the link below to access more detail of the origins of nurse education in Liverpool. This will provide more detail of nurse education in Liverpool at this time.

It should be noted that this early school (perhaps the first in England) was founded thirty years before the Nightingale school at St Thomas Hospital, and eleven years before Elizabeth Fry launched her pioneering Institution of Nursing Sisters in 1840. The operation of the Liverpool school and Mrs Fry’s organisation was basically similar. They wished to supply respectable nurses, and both relied on outside hospitals to train them. For many years, Elizabeth Fry’s institution concentrated on nursing rich private families. The rich did not use hospitals at this time, but were treated in their homes. In contrast, the Rev. Hornby specifically also included the provision of hospital nurses. The importance of the short-lived Liverpool school lay not in its achievements, but in the recognition of its fundamental flaw – its failure to retain trained nurses – and the attempts to rectify this problem by the nursing reformers who followed.

A School for Nurses Founded in Liverpool in 1829. Richard Huntsman, Mary Bruin and Carolyn Gibbon.

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The Impact of Nursing

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