ABSTRACT

The creation of the National Health Service had an important unifying impact on nursing. The implementation of the Nurses’ Registration Act after the First World War had imposed some degree of order and uniformity on the emerging profession. However, the limitations of the Act, coupled with the fragmented nature of health care provision between the wars, meant that nursing continued to be a diverse and highly variable occupation. Registered nurses from different parts of the country working in vastly different hospital and community settings often had little in common apart from their certificate of registration. 1 This situation was to change after 1948 and as nursing took its place within the NHS there followed an inevitable process of change and accommodation to the challenges imposed by the new national organisation and structure.