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A contribution to the history of learning disability nursing

Mitchell, Duncan (2002) A contribution to the history of learning disability nursing. Journal of research in nursing, 7 (3). pp. 201-210. ISSN 1361-4096

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Abstract

This paper summarises a piece of research that considers the place of learning disability nursing within the nursing profession. Taking an historical perspective, the research asks why learning disability nursing became part of the nursing profession, and then explores subsequent debates about its continued presence in nursing. Its methodology is based on an historical approach combined with insights gained from contemporary policy issues within learning disability nursing. Archival material from the General Nursing Council and published material from the nursing press between 1913 and 1959 has been utilised, along with institutional archives and oral history. It is suggested that the history of learning disability nursing has been neglected within the history of nursing, yet on examination of the subject, significant insights were revealed into the current position of learning disability nursing specifically and nursing generally. In particular, the paper suggests that learning disability nursing has been marginalised within the nursing profession because it does not conform to an image of nursing based on ill health.

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