Speaker: Susan Grant, PhD (Irish Research Council CARA Mobility Fellow, University of Toronto and University College Dublin and Alice Fisher Fellow, Barbara Bates Center for the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania)
Abstract: This seminar paper will focus on the training and education of nurses in Russia and the Soviet Union. In attempting to understand the attitudes and development of Russian and Soviet nursing, it is first necessary to assess state training programmes and courses. This is vital in determining both the level of commitment by the state to nursing education and also the level of standardization and professionalization of nurses. In this examination of nursing, which took place during a particularly turbulent and violent period of Russian and indeed international history, nurse training and education were constantly subject to changes and revisions. The demand for medical personnel during a time of profound hardship placed immense pressures on the public health system and the urgent need for immediate service often curtailed the length of training programmes. The strain of satisfying the growing medical needs of a society ravaged by war and famine had severe repercussions, with the quality of nurse that was being produced becoming increasingly subject to criticism by the Soviet medical authorities in the mid-1930s. I examine the problems of nurse training during the period 1914-1940 and especially the reforms introduced after 1936 which attempted to address the mounting problems in nursing standards. The paper concludes by a final assessment of Soviet nurse training on the eve of Soviet entry into World War Two.
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