Vol. 18 No. 1 (2014): Journal of Nursing Pensar Enfermagem
Original Articles

The Visitator Health course in Portugal 1929-1952

Elisa Maria Bernardo Garcia
Professora Coordenadora, aposentada, da Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa, Doutoranda em Enfermagem MSc, RN
José Amendoeira
Professor Coordenador na Escola Superior de Saúde de Santarém, PhD, MSc, RN

Published 2014-10-01


  • Health education,
  • health visitator,
  • public health,
  • nursing,
  • history of nursing

How to Cite

Bernardo Garcia, E. M., & Amendoeira, J. (2014). The Visitator Health course in Portugal 1929-1952. Pensar Enfermagem, 18(1), 77–85. https://doi.org/10.56732/pensarenf.v18i1.91


This article is based on an ongoing study on the history of nursing education, under the PhD in Nursing at the Instituto de Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Católica Portuguesa and results from a paper presented at the First International Symposium on Nursing History, May 2013. We aim to contribute to the discussion about the esucation of public health nurses through the analysis of emerging early curricula and to have a say on the knowledge of nursing history. We used historical research methodology, with heuristic orientation, and document analysis encompassing the conception and organisation of the health visitors’ education. We
observed that the training was held in the Instituto Superior de Higiene Dr. Ricardo Jorge (Faria, 1934). It was created in 1929 in the “Posto de Proteção à infância” as a response to idea of the creation of the visitor nurses corps, as foreseen in the reform proposal of Professor Ricardo Jorge (ISHRJ, 1953), in 1926. From 1931 it worked under the Decreto- Lei nº. 20376 and it allowed for practice on the Postos de Proteção à infância, social hygiene and epidemiological surveillance dispensaries (ISHRJ, 1946). With the reform of 1945 the course duration became one academic year, including internships with a minimum of 4 months. The curriculum was djusted leading to a knowledge based in the field of public health practice focused on preventive and social medicine (ISHRJ, 1953). In 1952 this training was withdrawn from the nursing education. It is considered that this training is a significant milestone for public health nursing because of the role the visitors played among the population, with the political and health situation at the time in mind.


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