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versión On-line ISSN 2340-7948versión impresa ISSN 0211-9536


CALVO-CALVO, Manuel-Ángel. The reaction of Practicantes in Medicine and Surgery to the creation of a Nursing qualification in 1915. Dynamis [online]. 2014, vol.34, n.2, pp.425-446. ISSN 2340-7948.

This paper deals with the arguments justifying the Government's passage of the Sovereign Ordinance of 7 May 1915, which officially established a course and qualification in Nursing in Spain; and examines how and why Medical and Surgical practicantes (medical assistants) reacted to this decision. The ordinance legalized nurses' care practices, thereby providing official recognition for a healthcare profession other than that of practicante. The Government based its approval on three arguments: the physicians' recommendations; deficiencies in the basic and professional training of practicantes"; and the fact that the nursing profession emerged as a new path providing Spanish women with an opportunity to acquire training and join the labour force. The new legislation was met with outrage by practicantes, who opposed it in the belief that it equated nurses' scope of practice to their own and thus jeopardized their future employment prospects. Additionally, they contended that nurses would be legally qualified to perform the same medical practices as they did, despite receiving their degrees in a shorter period of time with a less prolonged internship, at a lower economic cost and through less effort. Professional associations of practicantes immediately launched a campaign against the Sovereign Ordinance, meeting with the Minister of Public Instruction to request its repeal, organizing a massive telegram campaign directed at the minister, and requesting the nullity of the ordinance before the Supreme Court, which would reject the appeal by the practicantes two years later. Professional associations also used their press organs to publish the arguments of prominent practicantes, who vehemently voiced their opposition in extremist, uncompromising, radical, and ironic terms, arising from a strong gender ideology in tune with the patriarchal mentality of the era and the dominant position that male hegemony conferred to practicantes.

Palabras clave : Nurse; assistant in medicine and surgery; gender relations; sexism; 20th century.

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