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More Than Educators: New Zealand’s Plunket Nurses, 1907–1950

More Than Educators: New Zealand’s Plunket Nurses, 1907–1950 More Than Educators: New Zealand’s Plunket Nurses, 1907–1950 Linda Bryder The University of Auckland By the middle of the 20th century, the health of almost all infants in New Zealand was overseen by infant health nurses employed by a nongovernmental organization, the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society. This had been set up in 1907 to combat poor infant health, specifically infant diarrhea, by educating mothers about feeding methods and hygiene in the home. Medical in origin, the organization was embraced by women, including the wife of the governor, Lady Plunket, whose name became associated with the Society. While the original intention of the Society was health education, an examination of the nurses’ work suggests a different story. They were involved in medical -treat ment as well as in providing material and emotional support to new mothers and their infants. It was the personal engagement of the nurses with mothers, in the home and in the “Plunket Rooms” (clinics), that ensured the success of this Society and its popularity among women, who were at once the nurses’ employers and clients. Origins: A Women’s Organization On May 14, 1907, Dr. Frederic Truby King, who had been for some time interested in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

More Than Educators: New Zealand’s Plunket Nurses, 1907–1950

Nursing History Review , Volume 26 (1): 14 – Jan 1, 2018

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.26.1.83
Publisher site
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Abstract

More Than Educators: New Zealand’s Plunket Nurses, 1907–1950 Linda Bryder The University of Auckland By the middle of the 20th century, the health of almost all infants in New Zealand was overseen by infant health nurses employed by a nongovernmental organization, the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society. This had been set up in 1907 to combat poor infant health, specifically infant diarrhea, by educating mothers about feeding methods and hygiene in the home. Medical in origin, the organization was embraced by women, including the wife of the governor, Lady Plunket, whose name became associated with the Society. While the original intention of the Society was health education, an examination of the nurses’ work suggests a different story. They were involved in medical -treat ment as well as in providing material and emotional support to new mothers and their infants. It was the personal engagement of the nurses with mothers, in the home and in the “Plunket Rooms” (clinics), that ensured the success of this Society and its popularity among women, who were at once the nurses’ employers and clients. Origins: A Women’s Organization On May 14, 1907, Dr. Frederic Truby King, who had been for some time interested in

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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