Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2087

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Nursing Recipes for the Sick-Nurse, and Domestic Medicines

Sick Nursing.—All women are likely, at some period of their lives, to be called on to perform the duties of a sick-nurse, and should prepare themselves as much as possible, by observation and reading, for the occasion when they may be required to fulfil the office. The main requirements are good temper, compassion for suffering, sympathy with sufferers (which most women possess), neat-handedness, quiet manners, love of order, and cleanliness. With these qualifications there will be very little to be wished for; the desire to relieve suffering will inspire a thousand little attentions and surmount the distaste which some of the offices attending the sick-room are apt to create.

Where serious illness visits a household, however, and protracted nursing is likely to become necessary, a professional nurse will probably be engaged who has been trained to her duties. Such nurses may be obtained from the nursing homes in connexion with most of the large hospitals throughout the country. Their usual fee is two to three guineas a week. The advantages of employing such a nurse in cases of serious illness are many. The patient receives every care and attention from one who, by training and experience, has learnt of what attentions such a patient stands most in need. The doctor is helped by having at each visit an accurate report of the patient's condition, the amount of sleep enjoyed, the alterations in the pulse or temperature, etc., since his last visit. He is thus better able to form an opinion of the progress of the case, and adapt his treatment accordingly. The mistress of the house has time to devote to her household duties, to supervise the preparation of the invalid's food, to answer inquiries as to his progress, and by her companionship to relieve the monotony of the long weary time the invalid must necessarily experience. How common it is, when the mistress takes upon herself the duties of nurse, to find the patient neglected, not for want of attention, but for lack of knowledge, the household management disorganized, and the mistress herself worn out and ill from anxiety, watching and over-work.

Professional nurses need not only the qualifications already named. In addition to their training they should be physically strong, have