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The battle for the Bill

Policy Careers Careers
Rosemary Cook tells how nursing became a registered profession, improving its standing in the eyes of the public, thanks to a dedicated nurse and a healthy dose of opposition.

In December 1919, a woman sat in the public gallery of the House of Commons to watch MPs vote on a bill. She was a nurse, and she had been campaigning for this legislation for more than 30 years. Her name was Ethel Bedford Fenwick, and MPs were voting on the Nurses Registration Bill.

A good part of the delay had been generated by supporters of registration themselves. There had been division and discord, personalities and pique, and competing publications protesting alternative points of view. The constant throughout the story - as editor, campaigner, objector and faction leader - was Ethel Bedford Fenwick.

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