#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

A history of mental health nursing

Peter Nolan

A history of mental health nursing

Claire Chatterton, Chair of the RCN’s History of Nursing Society

Reason you chose this book

After 10 years in general nursing I decided to train as a mental health nurse in Oxford. I had always been interested in history and soon became fascinated by the two hospitals where I was training: one was a former county lunatic asylum, and the other a charitable institution.


Once I had finished my training I signed up to do an MA in Historical Studies and decided to study the history of mental health nursing in Oxford. I found very little had been written on this subject and that books which claimed to be about the history of nursing in fact talked exclusively about general nurses. This lack of information was really improved by the publication of this book: still the only textbook solely on the history of mental health nursing. It was accessible and interesting and ignited a desire to research mental health nursing history myself, a passion that endures to this day.

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Page last updated - 03/08/2019