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District nursing to celebrate 150th birthday

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The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has launched a new website to celebrate the 150th anniversary of district nursing in the UK this year.

In 1859 William Rathbone, a Liverpool merchant and philanthropist, employed a nurse, Mary Robinson, to look after his sick wife at home. After his wife’s death, he retained the nurse’s services so that people in Liverpool who could not afford to pay for nursing would benefit from care in their own homes.

Mr Rathbone and Florence Nightingale then worked together to try to develop the service. They set up and funded a nursing school in Liverpool specifically to train nurses for the 18 ‘districts’ of the city – and so organised ‘district nursing’ began.

The new QNI anniversary website includes a gallery of old photographs, recipes and exam questions taken from the old Queen’s Nurse magazines. It also contains stories from district nurses working during the first and second world wars.

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