At the heart of Island life for over a century

The birth of community nursing in Jersey

Before the St Helier General Hospital was built in 1765, nursing at home had been a feature of Jersey life for centuries.  Most health care was done at home and it concentrated mainly on midwifery.  It was rare for women to give birth in hospital, yet there was no single island-wide organisation, which could arrange this care, and virtually no professionally trained nurses.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that nurses came from what is now the Queen’s Nursing Institute to be employed by charitable local associations.

The first nurse to become a District Nurse in Jersey was Eleanor Diaper, who had come to the Island to work at St Saviour’s Hospital. Mrs Diaper seems to have been employed by the Gorey and Grouville Nursing Association, thought to have started by 1907. 

Eleanor and the other nurses were funded by subscriptions collected door-to-door by ladies in the parishes, along with parochial funding and donations, but the poor were not charged.

Over the next few years a web of nursing associations was set up and spread through the Island. By 1928 there were five associations affiliated to the Queen’s Nursing Institute and by 1939 there were 16 Queen’s Nurses working in the Channel Islands.

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Where did we come from?

In 1948 all the affiliated branches of the Queen’s Nursing Institute in the United Kingdom were dissolved and the employment of District Nurses was taken over by the newly formed National Health Service (NHS). Uniquely, in Jersey, the District Nurses and Health Visitors continued to be employed by charitable organisations, which have continued to this day.

After the Second World War, the centre widened its scope and became known as the Jersey Family Welfare Association. By 1958 two Health Visitors were employed to visit mothers after the midwife has completed her visits.

A Geriatric Liaison Health Visitor was appointed in 1970, which meant that specialist care could be given to patients, and school nurses also worked for the Association.

On June 30th 1971 all the branches of the Jersey District Nursing Association were dissolved and the association was centralised in order to provide better co-ordination and communication between the District Nurses, General Practitioners, other welfare services and the public.

The Jersey Home Helps Society for the Sick and Aged had been set up in 1952 and in 1966, ‘Home Helps’ had 33 members of staff on the books and 90 cases, and by 1979 there were 40 members of staff and 335 clients.

In 1986 the Jersey District Nursing Association and the Jersey Family Welfare Association amalgamated to become Family Nursing Services. Six years later there was a further amalgamation with the Jersey Home Helps Society for the Sick and Aged.

By the early 1990s, the organisations for all Jersey’s nursing needs from birth to end of life were merged into one organisation, Family Nursing & Home Care.

Today the Association employs more than 250 staff in order to provide the full range of community nursing and care services that Jersey’s residents need.

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