RCN centenary

Health visiting in the first world war

Health visiting and its role in addressing the nutritional needs of children in the first world war

Health visiting and its role in addressing the nutritional needs of children in the first world war.

Abstract

Wayne Osborne and Sandra Lawton reflect on the early days of public health care and discover that the work of pioneer Ellen Woodcock was not far removed from the initiatives implemented by community nurses today

The first known UK health visitor post was established in 1862, in response to the living conditions of the poor. Before the first world war, local government boards advised district councils generally to employ health visitors: breastfeeding and child nutrition needed particular attention. In 1910, Hucknall District Council in Nottinghamshire, England, appointed nurse Ellen Woodcock to advise mothers and caregivers on looking after their children and themselves. Focusing on the welfare of women and children, health visitors could not fail to reach everyone in the community. This historical perspective shows that many of the initiatives and policies of today mirror those of a century ago.

Read the article

This article was first published in print in Nursing Children and Young People: volume 26, issue 8

This article is for subscribers only