Negotiating nursing

British Army sisters and soldiers in the Second World War

By Jane Brooks

Negotiating nursing

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1906-3
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: May 2018
  • BIC Category: MEDICAL / Nursing / General, MEDICAL / History, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Second World War, Nursing, Medicine / History of medicine, Modern History, History of Medicine, History, History of medicine, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies, HISTORY / Military / World War II
  • Series: Nursing History and Humanities


Negotiating Nursing explores how the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Q.A.s) salvaged their soldier-patients within the sensitive gender negotiations of what should and could constitute nursing work and where that work could occur. The book argues that the Q.A.s, an entirely female force during the Second World War, were essential to recovering men from the battlefield and for the war, despite concerns about women's presence on the frontline. Using personal testimony the book maps the developments in nurses' work as they created a legitimate space for themselves in war zones and established their position as the expert at the bedside. Yet, despite the acknowledgement of nurses' vital role in the medical service, their position was gendered. As the women of Britain were returned to the home post-war, it was the military nurses' womanhood that stymied their considerable skills from being transferred to the new welfare state.


Introduction: Nursing work and nurses' space in the Second World War: a gendered construction
1. Salvaging soldiers, comforting men
2. Challenging nursing spaces
3. Nursing presence
4. Negotiating the boundaries of nursing practice
5. Reasserting work, space and gender boundaries at the end of the Second World War
Concluding remarks


Jane Brooks is a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Manchester

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