Notes on Hospitals

Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green
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Publisher
Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green
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Published on
Dec 31, 1863
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Pages
187
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Language
English
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This content is DRM free.
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"My heart always sinks within me when I hear the good housewife, of every class, say, 'I assure you the bed has been well slept in,' and I can only hope it is not true. What? Is the bed already saturated with somebody else's damp before my patient comes to exhale in it his own damp? Has it not had a single chance to be aired? No, not one. It has been slept in every night."
From the best known work of Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), the originator and founder of modern nursing, comes a collection of notes that played an important part in the much needed revolution in the field of nursing. For the first time it was brought to the attention of those caring for the sick that their responsibilities covered not only the administration of medicines and the application of poultices, but the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet. Miss Nightingale is outspoken on these subjects as well as on other factors that she considers essential to good nursing. But, whatever her topic, her main concern and attention is always on the patient and his needs.
One is impressed with the fact that the fundamental needs of the sick as observed by Miss Nightingale are amazingly similar today (even though they are generally taken for granted now) to what they were over 100 years ago when this book was written. For this reason, this little volume is as practical as it is interesting and entertaining. It will be an inspiration to the student nurse, refreshing and stimulating to the experienced nurse, and immensely helpful to anyone caring for the sick.

During the Civil War, this edition of Florence Nightingale’s classic volume on nutrition for the military was published by the Army of Virginia, but the book was also published in the North by order of the surgeon general. The introduction of nutrition into American military food prevented some losses from malnutrition and poor sanitation and could have saved more if Nightingales recommendations had been more widely implemented. Her book contains recipes to maintain health and to feed hospital patients suffering from scarlet fever, typhoid, dysentery, and many medical conditions. It was based on her experience with soldiers in the Crimean War. Her attention to food as being linked to particular ailments and conditions was not a completely new idea, but in the armies, doctors usually assumed that invalids could eat the same ration given to men in the field. A healthy soldier could barely chew the hardtack supplied to troops, so it was impossible for a man suffering from a jaw wound. Nightingale’s recipes took this distinction into account, and they were designed to include specific nutrients she had come to recognize as important during her earlier wartime experiences, emphasizing meat and milk (for protein) and whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (for carbohydrates). Thirty-five years later, essentially similar recommendations would emerge in the first U.S. Family Food Guide (1916). This edition of Directions for Cooking by Troups, in Camp and Hospital was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes. 
 The following pages contain a brief account of the experiment successfully tried by the Select Vestry of Liverpool (the guardians of the poor)—the introduction of trained Nurses into the male wards of the Workhouse Infirmary. That experiment having resulted so successfully as to induce the Vestry to extend the system to the remainder of the infirmary, it may be interesting to those who are concerned in the management of workhouses elsewhere to learn something of its history and progress. It is the writer’s object to explain—

1. The grounds on which the Vestry were led to undertake the experiment, as stated in the preliminary report of Mr. Carr, the governor, and that of the sub-committee of the Vestry appointed to consider the proposed scheme; and the replies received to inquiries addressed by them to institutions and persons connected with the training and employment of skilled nurses in London and Liverpool, with letters on the subject from Miss Nightingale and Sir John McNeill.

2. The results of the experiment, so far as hitherto ascertained.

The Liverpool Vestry had previously made considerable efforts to improve the workhouse infirmaries. The medical men had been encouraged to make requisition for every material appliance that could facilitate the cure of the sick; and paid female officers were appointed at the rate of one to each 150 or 200 beds, to superintend the giving of medicines and stimulants, and so forth: but of course so small a number, even had they been trained nurses, could do no real nursing, and could exercise little supervision over the twenty drunken or unreliabl pauper nurses who were under the nominal direction of each paid officer. An appeal was made to the Vestry to consummate the good work they had thus partially commenced, and it was urged that Liverpool should assume the lead in the task of workhouse reform.

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