ought never to weigh, against the public good; the latter only is the object of those who are placed in trust of money, institutions, and the public welfare, because of their actual or supposed public spiritedness and superior intellect.
Is it necessary to detail the advantages of the services of a trained nurse over those of an untrained one? The latter class, as a rule, brings to their work no previous education, no theoretical schooling, no technical experience. They come mostly from inferior walks of life, with less intellectual power, and less moral force. Only those who come from better stock, and raise themselves to higher ambitions, will spend money, and two years of their lives, for the purpose of learning both theoretically and practically the art of relieving the sick, aiding their comfort, taking responsibilities which sometimes are as difficult as they are life-saving, and obeying orders with intelligence and understanding. That such persons are valuable additions to our hygienic requirements and sanitary progress everybody can conceive. That without them many a case would not recover, in spite of the most competent medical skill, all of you may have experienced. I, for one, know from personal experience that many a case can be, has been saved, first by the medical orders; secondly, and often mostly, by the execution of orders, such an execution as is rendered possible by combined knowledge and skill only. If I say that we practitioners have commenced to feel safe in regard to many of our cases only since we could rely on the co-operation of a trained nurse, I express but a common observation. I trust that there are households within hearing which know how to appreciate the services rendered them by a trained nurse.
So much only in regard to individual cases. But the service to the public at large hitherto rendered, and constantly increasing, is of a different and still more important nature. Who is nowadays the teacher of the public at large in sanitary matters, in hygienic rules? The knowledge of the Church, when it nursed, was faith, and, let us add, in its best times, love. The knowledge of uneducated women was, and is, ignorance driven to actual or alleged work by starvation. The knowledge of a trained nurse is the result of a two years' study under competent teachers, and a constant practice. Who in the community is her superior in the knowledge of the facts mostly necessary for the health and life of your children, and dear ones in general? The clergyman is no longer the teacher of the mysteries of life and common sense. The schoolmaster or schoolmistress knows about the classics, geography, and arithmetic, but no normal school ever taught them the elements of applied physiology. The educated member of any profession except the medical has not the slightest idea of the necessities of the body, the action of food, the effect of clothing, and the hundred facts required by different ages, conditions, and states of health. With the exception of the physician, whose advice is frequently sought only