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Archiver > DEVON > 2001-08 > 0997685430

From: "Joan Gaskin" <>
Subject: Nurse or SMS
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 07:50:30 +0100

To Shirley and others,

Following are explanations I have saved from a couple of folk who helped me.

SMS or S M S in 1881 Census

SMS stands for Subordinate Medical Service. It is not a qualification nor
an occupation as such, but rather a category and you'll probably find that
on the actual census page SMS is written in a different handwriting from the
rest of the entry. The letters would have been added some time after the
enumerator had filled in the form by one of the GRO's clerks as part of the
process of analysing the census data. SMS was a category used to cover
anyone involved in the medical world who was not a qualified doctor or
dentist, or a medical student.

Sub-Medical Nurse, ie a nurse taking patient(s) into her own home and being
under payment and supervision of a doctor. She would not have qualifications
as we think of them today, but would be a well thought of member of her
community. They were usually older respectable women. Sometimes they were
Nurse (SMS) - sub-medical servant - when they nursed a patient in a patient's
own home.

Hope this helps,

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