At the end of World War II, men returning home from the services with medical training were demobbed and recruited to fill peacetime positions in the health service.
In 1947 an experiment was conducted. Four men, dubbed the 'early pioneers', were selected to be trained as District Nurses. They nursed only male patients and did not wear a uniform, changing into a white jacket when in the patient’s home. At first, the lack of uniform led them to being seen as insurance agents, meter readers, or even intruders.
The scheme proved to be successful and male district nurses became an established part of the profession, taking on a full range of duties and having an official uniform.
'Helping new mothers with their childcare and powdering a baby's bottom is all part of the service'
- Original caption, 1947
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Text and curation: Amanda Uren