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Nurses, practicantes and volunteers: the dissolution of practice and professional boundaries during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Anton-Solanas, Isabel (2010) Nurses, practicantes and volunteers: the dissolution of practice and professional boundaries during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) University of Manchester, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, Doctoral Thesis .

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


A hypothetical journey from the moment a soldier was wounded to his discharge from the field hospital was detailed in order to provide an idea of the organisation of military health services, evacuation strategy and roles of health care personnel during the Spanish Civil War. It was observed that despite both Nationalists and Republicans formally banning female nurses as part of the military units stationed on the front lines, nurses working at the auto-chirs, advanced surgical units and some field hospitals often found themselves only metres from the firing lines.

Both men and women volunteered to nurse the war casualties from the start. It was soon observed, however, that untrained nursing staff could often cause more harm than benefit to patients, hence training courses for both nurses and orderlies were organised by a variety of organisations and political groups all over Spain.

Due to the circumstances of war, nursing experienced a clear practical development expanding its professional boundaries from core to complex procedures which, until the outbreak of war, had been the sole responsibility of another professional group known as practicante. Nursing's unchallenged evolutionary process during the Spanish Civil War was explained by a number of factors including not only the war situation itself but the large number of nurses available, their determination, adaptability and capacity to evolve in order to meet the new health care needs of the population. The impact of key individuals such as Mercedes Mil, Inspector General of all Female Hospital Personnel, in the Nationalist side, and the nurses of the International Brigades, in the Republican side, on Spanish nursing was also significant.

The evidence confirmed the hypothesis that the Civil War exerted a positive impact on Spanish nursing.

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Published date: 2010


Local EPrints ID: 191739
PURE UUID: e60d1ff3-b099-4e6b-9be0-eab3ad04dcda

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Date deposited: 01 Jul 2011 10:17
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:34

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Author: Isabel Anton-Solanas

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