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On All Frontiers

Four Centuries of Canadian Nursing

Editors Christina Bates, Dianne Dodd and Nicole Rousseau

Publication Year: 2005

Nursing has a long and varied history in Canada. Since the founding of the first hospital by the Augustine nuns in 1637, nurses have contributed greatly to Canadians' quality of life.

On All Frontiers is a comprehensive history of Canadian nursing. Editors Christina Bates, Dianne Dodd, and Nicole Rousseau have brought together a vast body of research into one volume. Authored by leading experts, the chapters and vignettes form an overview of the history of Canadian nursing to date.

From the midwives of early Canada to urban public health nurses, from remote outposts to the battlefields of Europe, On All Frontiers documents the hardships, challenges, and achievements of Canadian nurses. Richly illustrated with archival photographs, it will prove essential to scholars of Canadian health care history.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-ii


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pp. iii

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pp. v-vi

On All Frontiers is a fitting title for a book that presents an in-depth and compelling look at the history of nursing in Canada at the beginning of the twenty-first century. From the earliest days of Canadian history four centuries ago, nurses have been an influence "on all frontiers" of society. As members of both secular and religious orders — from the very first wilderness settlements to the outposts of the westward push and beyond — nurses have made invaluable contributions to the building of this country. ...

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pp. vii-viii

So many people have rallied round this book and its sister projects — the exhibition and the nursing collection — that it is difficult to name them all. We would particularly like to thank Lynn Kirkwood and Meryn Stuart from the exhibition advisory committee who suggested themes and authors for this book. ...

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pp. 1-10

On All Frontiers: Four Centuries of Canadian Nursing introduces the rich and complex history of nursing from the beginning of Canadian history to the present. We hope to reach a broad audience of interested Canadians, but especially women, nurses, and other health care professionals. We invite all to learn about the practice of nursing, not only in the hospital, but on many frontiers: in the home, in the community, in remote outposts, on the battlefield, and in the innovation of health care practices to serve Canadians from coast to coast. ...

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CHAPTER 1. Lay Nursing from the New France Era to the End of the Nineteenth Century (1608-1891)

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pp. 11-25

The work of religious caregivers throughout Canada's history has been well documented (and is, in fact, discussed in chapters 4 and 8 of this book); however, lay caregivers before the late nineteenth century have not received the same attention. Unlike religious communities, which have, for the most part, maintained abundant archives, lay caregivers left few traces of their work. To the paucity of archival material on lay nursing is added the difficulty in defining this category of work...

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CHAPTER 2 Canadian Midwifery: Blending Traditional and Modern Practices

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pp. 27-41

The history of midwives is virtually absent from standard medical historical texts and nursing records, yet Canadian midwives have survived in various forms, despite difficult circumstances, internal divisions over education and practice, and ongoing struggle to achieve autonomy and recognition as health professionals on par with physicians and nurses. For Aboriginal midwives, the history of midwifery has been further affected by colonialization, criticism of traditional healers, and the imposition of Western medicine. ...

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CHAPTER 3 The Trained Nurse: Private Duty and VON Home Nursing (Late i8oos to 19405)

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pp. 43-56

This chapter examines the much neglected area of nursing in the home, principally the private duty nursing that the vast majority of graduate nurses performed prior to the Second World War, as well as the bedside nursing of organizations such as the Victorian order of Nurses (VON). While employment as private duty nurses was plentiful in the first two decades of the twentieth century, it declined in the interwar years, markedly so during the Depression...

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CHAPTER 4 Healing the Body and Saving the Soul: Nursing Sisters and the First Catholic Hospitals in Quebec(1639-1880)

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pp. 57-71

The genesis of a large part of the hospital network in Quebec and, indeed, across Canada cannot be separated from the history of female religious orders.1 For more than three centuries, over 50 religious orders were associated with development of the Catholic hospital network across Canada and the delivery of care to patients inspired by an age-old caregiving philosophy.2 ...

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CHAPTER 5 The Nightingale Influence and the Rise of the Modern Hospital

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pp. 73-87

For more than a century, Canadians have relied on hospitals to provide the facilities, equipment, and personnel central to scientific medicine. As elsewhere in the Western world, Canadian hospitals were "reformed" in the late nineteenth century, so that rather than being charitable institutions dedicated to serving the poor, hospitals began serving patients from all classes of society. Whether general hospitals or specialty institutions, and whether administered by Catholic orders, Protestant denominations, community volunteers, or government officials...

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CHAPTER 6 "Body Work," Medical Technology and Hospital Nursing Practice

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pp. 89-105

Nurses have been predominantly associated with hospitals for the greater part of the twentieth century, whether as students in training or as graduate nurses upon completion of their training. Within hospital settings, they engaged in a wide variety of activities that involved "body work" — I use this term to refer to both the treatments and procedures that nurses performed on patients' bodies, and the skilful use of nurses' own bodies in the performance of patient care. Body work frequently required the skilled and timely use of equipment and machines, as well as the technological knowledge that went with it. ...

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CHAPTER 7 Public Health Nursing

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pp. 107-123

On 15 April 1950, in a public ceremony sponsored by the federal government and the province of British Columbia, Aileen Bond and Amy Wilson received Distinguished Service Medals for "...personal sacrifice and personal risk above and beyond the call of duty."1 This heroic chapter in the history of Canadian public health nursing began in late December of 1949 when Wilson, an Indian Affairs public health nurse stationed at Whitehorse, received a call for help from Halfway Valley, an isolated First Nations community near the Alaska Highway. ...

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CHAPTER 8. Religious Nursing Orders of Canada: A Presence on All Western Frontiers

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pp. 125-138

Most Canadians can identify a religious nursing order that has been involved in caring for their community. Many, however, do not realize the extent to which religious nursing orders played a leadership role in the development of nursing and health care services across Canada. Nursing sisters, as they will be generically referred to in this chapter, were often the first care providers on new frontiers and, although the number of sisters has been declining since the 1960s, a significant number of the health care institutions they created remain as evidence of their contribution to the development of Canada from coast to coast. ...

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CHAPTER 9. Outpost Nursing in Canada

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pp. 139-152

Writing from her outpost nursing station in Atikokan in 1933, Red Cross nurse Maude Weaver described her previous week: Sunday night she admitted a woman who had had a stroke and was recovering but who had required "private duty nursing" in the two-bed outpost for the week. On Monday she stabilized an "acute abdomen" and put the patient on the train to Winnipeg. Wednesday morning she sutured a gash in a child's ankle. She boiled up "lots of things and put some cocaine in with a hypo needle above [the injury] and then put four stitches in with silk." ...

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CHAPTER 10. Caregiving on the Front: The Experience of Canadian Military Nurses during World War I

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pp. 153-167

During the years leading up to World War I, the nursing profession in Canada had begun to be organized: among other things, schools were opened and associations were created, helping to establish the professional status of the caregiver's work in society. During this period, aware of the advantages that the presence of nurses would provide during military operations, the Canadian army invited groups of nurses to accompany the troops on various military expeditions, and these invitations were the prelude to the creation of a true military nurses' corps in 1908. ...

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CHAPTER 11. "Ready, Aye Ready": Canadian Military Nurses as an Expandable and Expendable Workforce(1920-2000)

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pp. 169-182

The majority of Canadian military nurses, known by rank and title as Nursing Sisters and later as Nursing Officers, served in the armed forces "for the duration" only. With few exceptions, military nursing has been primarily a temporary role. Although the need for nurses in the Armed Forces increased dramatically during times of war and crisis, there were very few permanent positions between wars and few opportunities for military nurses to maintain the full range of professional skills associated with civilian nursing. ...

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CHAPTER 12. Enough but Not Too Much: Nursing Education in English Language Canada (1874-2000)

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pp. 183-195

Training schools for nurses emerged as a means of improving hospital organization and increasing the quality of service to patients. They were just a practical means to an end, and were not intended to further the cause of higher learning or contribute to the overall development of human knowledge. Medical administrators, and today government officials, wanted a cheap, well-disciplined labour force; physicians wanted a nurse of pleasing personality and good character — that is, someone who would be pleasant to work with and would not challenge their authority. ...

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CHAPTER 13. Professionalism and Canadian Nursing

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pp. 197-211

Two distinct paths toward the development of nursing as a profession, the Anglo-Protestant "Nightingale" tradition and the French-Catholic tradition, will be dealt with in separate sections of this chapter. In English Canada, the campaign to gain professional recognition, enhanced by the Nightingale mystique, was very much a part of early nursing history. Drawing on various, often conflicting, definitions of what constitutes a profession, the chapter will assess whether the goals of nursing leaders were achieved. ...

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CHAPTER 14. Unionization of Canadian Nursing

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pp. 213-223

The sight of nurses walking the picket line — much less being involved in illegal strikes — is contrary to the public stereotype of nurses as self-sacrificing, caring professionals. Within recent years, however, there have been province-wide nursing strikes in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and more threatened in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. In today's climate of political uncertainty about health care, it is unlikely that labour unrest among the more than 75 percent of Canadian registered nurses who are unionized is over. ...


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pp. 225-242

Selected Readings

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pp. 243-246


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pp. 247-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780776616674
E-ISBN-10: 0776616676
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776605913
Print-ISBN-10: 0776605917

Page Count: 250
Publication Year: 2005