Influenza instructions for nurses

The New Plymouth Public Health Committee's instructions to volunteer nurses or family attendants dealing with influenza, probably issued during the 1918 pandemic.

The flyer advises that patients be kept isolated in a bright, well-ventilated room with windows fully opened. No one except the nurse or attendant should enter the room. Instructions for mild, serious and extreme cases are given, and there are suggestions for medicines and foods.

Diminished workforce

Health provision in New Zealand had improved a great deal since the 19th century. Unfortunately, the 1918 pandemic struck just as the First World War was drawing to a close – a third of the country's doctors and almost a quarter of its nurses were overseas. The rate of death among those remaining in the country to deal with the epidemic was almost as bad as that among the soldiers in military camps – 20.21 per thousand among doctors (14 died), 21.8 per thousand among nurses (37 died).

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