The Very First Issue of Nursing Notes: a Practical Journal for Nurses, 1888

We’re celebrating International Day of the Midwife 2017 by making available, for free download, the first issue of the very first volume of Nursing Notes, which became the official journal of the Midwives Institute (later the Royal College of Midwives).

A searchable, scanned copy of this historic issue is free to download as a PDF: NursingNotesIssue1888Issue1Vol 1

The front cover of the first issue of volume 1 of Nursing Notes dated January 1888

Highlights include reviews of lectures on the nursing of tracheotomy cases and an update from Workhouse Infirmary Nursing Association. Though light on midwifery-specific topics, the issue does feature a fascinating look at A Year’s Experience With Trained Nurses, which was a private pamphlet circulated in London to give a patient’s mixed views on the conduct of the qualified nurses who had tended to him.

“[It is] not prudent or safe to take it for granted that when a trained nurse has been engaged and put in charge of a sick person, that all will go right, and that all anxiety on the score of nursing may be laid aside. Far from it, there must be no relaxation of attention on the part of relations and friends, even in the minutest details, until they are thoroughly satisfied that the nurse is all she professes to be, all she is expected to be, all that she ought to be.”

The Royal College of Midwives published Nursing Notes as part of their mission to improve the education and professionalism of nurses and midwives. The RCM Library has a full series of this historic journal, which originally began in June 1887 as a column in Woman magazine.

The journal was first published as Nursing Notes by Dame Rosalind Paget (pictured), Honorary Secretary of the RCM and one of its most prominent, high profile members. In 1928 she founded Nursing Notes Limited, incorporated under to companies Act in 1928, to acquire the journal. The first Directors of the company were Thomas Guy Paget, Rosalind Paget and Kathleen Paget. Working closely with the Editorial Committee of the Royal College of Midwives, Nursing Notes Limited deliver a world-class journal for members of the RCM, covering recent publications on midwifery, articles on best practice, help and advice for midwives and trainees, and views from midwives across the world.

The publication changed its name many times over the course of a century, becoming Nursing notes and Midwives’ Chronicle (1908-1939), Midwives Chronicle and Nursing Notes (1940-1957), Midwives Chronicle (1958-1995), RCM Midwives Journal (1998-2002), and RCM Midwives (2002-2008). After 2008 the journal was revamped as Midwives magazine.

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