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Island's health visitors and school nurses celebrate 150 year history

Friday, 7 December 2012

2012 sees the Health Visiting and School Nursing profession celebrate 150 years of providing healthcare to families; and to mark the occasion a celebration was recently held at Crookall House, which included afternoon tea, a celebratory cake, and a presentation by Cath Quilliam, Director of Community Nursing, on the health-visiting and school nursing journey from 1862 to the present day.

Member for Health Services, Dudley Butt MLC, said:

'It is important for the Department of Health to acknowledge and celebrate the rich history of the healthcare profession in the Isle of Man. In doing so, we recognise the dedicated care and commitment given – in this instance to children and their families – by the profession in the past and present, whilst also looking to the future. The level of talent and expertise found in our community health professionals ensures that the long history of Community Nursing on the Island continues to advance, encompassing the highest levels of both preventative and therapeutic care.'

Health Visitors can trace the start of their profession back to 1862 with the establishment of Home Visitors providing improvement in environmental and public health across communities. Home Visitors were a ‘Mother’s Friend’, taking a practical approach to tackling the causes of ill health in children and families, including sanitation and diet. Health Visitors have helped to make sure that through working with families, babies and young children get the best start in life – through initiatives such as immunisation, breast-feeding, and general support.

School Nursing joined the public health nursing movement in the early 1900s when its role was primarily about improving school attendance. The School Nursing Service today continues to have a vital role in improving the physical and emotional health of the Island’s children and young people.

Cath Quilliam, Director of Community Nursing, said:

'The start of life is a crucial time for children and parents, presenting an excellent opportunity to improve health outcomes for Isle of Man communities. I am very proud of our Health Visiting and School Nursing Teams who are so dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people in the Isle of Man. The teams work closely with a range of agencies, enabling children and young people to access health and welfare services that assist them in reaching their full potential.

Health Visiting and School Nursing in 2012 has much to celebrate and equally much to look forward to as we strive to improve services to children, young people, and their families to achieve the best possible health outcomes.'

To mark the occasion a timeline was displayed, which was compiled from information provided by staff past and present. The timeline marked the journey from 1862 to the present day and included historical and current photographs of both School Nurses and Health Visitors in daily practice.

The well attended event included a quiz about the history of Community Nursing and a Guess the Caption competition: ‘What did she say to the Health Visitor?’.

Department of Health and Social Care

Crookall House

Demesne Road


Isle of Man


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