Again, milk, and the preparations from milk, are a most important article of food for the sick. Butter is the lightest kind of animal fat, and though it wants the sugar and some of the other elements which there are in milk, yet it is most valuable both in itself and in enabling the patient to eat more bread. Flour, oats, groats, barley, and their kind, are, as we have already said; preferable in all their preparations to all the preparations of arrowroot, sago, tapioca, and their kind. Cream, in many long chronic diseases, is quite irreplaceable by any other article whatever. It seems to act in the same manner as beef tea, and to most it is much easier of digestion than milk. In fact, it seldom disagrees. Cheese is not usually digestible by the sick, but it is pure nourishment for repairing waste; and I have seen sick, and not a few either, whose craving for cheese showed how much it was needed by them.
If, then, every woman must at some time or other of her life, become a nurse, i.e., have charge of somebody's health, how immense and how valuable would be the produce of her united experience if every woman would think how to nurse.
I do not pretend to teach her how, I ask her to teach herself, and for this purpose I venture to give her some hints.
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.