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About the book
  • Published: 1 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409003335
  • Imprint: Ebury Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Nurse On Call

The True Story of a 1950s District Nurse

Laughter and tears are never far away in this heart-warming true story of a district nurse in the mid-twentieth century

‘Never had I seen so many fleas! Startled by the daylight, they leapt in all directions, particularly mine. Quickly I peeled off her stockings and threw them on the fire, but by now the fleas had invaded her combinations. As for the fur coat, I shuddered to think …’

Training in a hospital in the 1930s, Edith Cotterill’s long hours on the wards included encouraging leeches to attach to patients (a task much harder than you might think) and the disposal in the furnace of amputated limbs. Although hospital life did have its compensations – it was there during the Second World War an injured sailor who became her husband.

After the birth of their two daughters, Edith returned to work in the 1950s as a district nurse. Whether she was ridding ageing spinsters of fleas or dishing out penicillin and enemas, Edith approached even the most wayward of patients with humour, compassion and warmth.

  • Pub date: 1 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409003335
  • Imprint: Ebury Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the Author

Edith Cotterill

Edith Cotterill was born in Tipton, Staffordshire, during a Zeppelin raid in 1916. She joined the nursing profession in 1934, working at Standon Orthopaedic Hospital and Margaret General and District Hospital, and married a sailor in the Royal Navy in 1940. After the birth of her two daughters, she returned to nursing as a district nurse back in Tipton. She died in 1997.

Praise for Nurse On Call

“Brilliant ... a rare book of truth and insight containing hilarious and soul wrenching stories of patients, hospital practice and colleagues, wartime traumas and post-war austerity. Ending with one of the most tragic and moving stories I have ever read”

Jennifer Worth, bestselling author of CALL THE MIDWIFE

“Touching and tender, full of comic but courageous characters, Edith Cotterill's Nurse on Call goes straight to the heart”


“Ought to provide the perfect antidote to today's bureaucratic National Health Service”

Daily Mail



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