Nurses during the First World War were expected to deal with both physical and psychological trauma and suffering; however, researchers have drawn attention to the invisibility of nurses in terms of the ‘emotional containment’ their work required.
By the end of World War One, the British Army had dealt with over 80,000 cases of what was commonly referred to as ‘shell shock’, and accounts have continued to fascinate, as the success of Pat Barker’s bestselling novel Regeneration and the subsequent film bear witness. Famous medical men such as Rivers and Yealland are frequently discussed in accounts of the treatment of psychological trauma such as shell shock, but much less is known about the nurses who worked alongside them and were expected to provide an environment which would promote and aid recovery.
This talk by Dr Claire Chatterton of the Open University’s School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care draws on an analysis of archival sources and articles from contemporary journals. It aims to give an insight into this aspect of nursing work during World War One and illustrates the diversity of the medical and nursing approaches that were undertaken.
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