Friday, May 29, 2020

Nurses on the Front Lines

Florence Nightingale
From The Conversation:
In 1854, Florence Nightingale brought 38 volunteer nurses to care for soldiers during the Crimean War. The cause of the conflict focused on the rights of Christians in the Holy Land and involved Russia, the Ottoman Empire, France, Sardinia and the United Kingdom. Male nurses provided care as far back as the Knights Hospitaller in the 11th century. But prior to Nightingale’s involvement, male and female nurses consisted of untrained family members or soldiers who cared for the ill and infirm. 
Nightingale was the first to organize nurses and provide standardized roles and responsibilities for the profession. As such, she is credited with founding modern professional nursing. She was also an expert statistician, collecting data on patients and what did and didn’t work to make them better. Nightingale and her nurses improved sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. They provided care and comfort. Their work had a major impact on the survival of soldiers. 
The American Civil War in the 1860s brought thousands of trained nurses to the battlefront, risking their lives to care for soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The most famous were Dorothea Dix, an advocate for indigenous populations and the mentally ill; Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross; and Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women.” 
Nurses again answered the call with the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, rushing from all over the country to Tennessee. The epidemic ultimately killed 18,000 people, and many nurses died while caring for the sick. (Read more.)

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