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A Unique Nursing Group--New Zealand Army Nurse Anaesthetists of WW1.

A Unique Nursing Group--New Zealand Army Nurse Anaesthetists of WW1. R.E Rawstron. Rawstron Publishing Company. 19A Bideford Place, Dollington, Christchurch, New Zealand. NZ$22; 147x206 mm; pp. 75; ISBN: 0-476-01339-9.

This remarkable little 70-page book will not enjoy wide appeal among members of the profession, but represents an extraordinarily detailed and diligent research into past records and documents on the early history of anaesthesia in New Zealand.

Although the title suggests that the book is the story of a group of nurses trained specifically to administer anaesthesia for troop casualties in Europe in World War I, it is much more than that.

Dr Rawstron, a retired specialist anaesthetist and publisher of the book, describes conditions during World War I, through the letters and biographies of the eight New Zealand nurses, supplemented by many additional references.

He provides extensive documentary evidence related to the role of these nurses upon their return to New Zealand after the war and the near establishment of nurse anaesthesia practice. In discussion of the events leading to physician-based anaesthesia, he compares the developments in New Zealand to those in other parts of the world.

Of particular interest, in Chapter four, Dr Rawstron describes the changing pattern of anaesthesia practice in various New Zealand hospitals in the first half of the last century.

This book is a valuable reference for the medical historian.


Melbourne, Victoria
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Author:Westthorpe, R.N.
Publication:Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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