Poverty, philanthropy, and professionalism: the establishment of a district nursing service in Wellington, New Zealand, 1903

Pamela Wood, Kerri Arcus

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The establishment in 1903 of a professional district nursing service in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, was a philanthropic response to the need for skilled care for the sickpoor in their own homes, as hospital and charitable aid boards believed chronic patients drained their resources. This paper argues that it was the timely combination of the individual philanthropy of Sarah Ann Rhodes, the organisational philanthropy of the St John Ambulance Association and the new professional standing and availability of registered nurses such as Annie Holgate that ensured its successful foundation. It also argues that district nursing services blurred spatial, social, and public-private boundaries in new ways. Finally, it considers the district nurse's role as the philanthropist 's proxy, the means for realising the philanthropist's desire to help the sick poor.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-64
    Number of pages21
    JournalHealth and History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Cite this