Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/805

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MODERN NURSING.


to repair the effects of ignorance, the only teacher the public have, and will have, is the trained nurse. Ten or twenty families may enjoy her presence annually, ten or twenty mothers will learn simple and important truths, knowledge will increase, and prevention of disease will become a possibility. Enjoyable and useful as the service of a trained nurse is in an individual case of sickness, her services to the community are very much greater, by virtue of her theoretical and practical teaching. May I tell you what a good trained nurse may teach, and can teach? How to recognize a fever, how to compare the local temperatures of the several parts of the body, and how to equalize them; she knows that ever so many feeble children might have been saved, if but the feet and legs had not been allowed to get cold; how to bathe, when, and when to stop; how to regulate the position of the head—I remember quite well the case of inflammatory delirium which would always be relieved by propping up the head—how to treat intelligently an attack of fainting; how to render cow's milk digestible by repeated boiling, or lime-water, or table-salt, or farinaceous admixtures; how to feed in case of diarrhœa; how to refuse food in case of vomiting; how to apply and when to remove cold to the head; how to ventilate a room without draught; and a thousand other things. She will also use her knowledge and influence in weaning the public of nostrums, concerning which hardly anything is known except what you have to pay for the promises of the label. She will break the public of the indiscriminate use of quinia, with its dangers possibly for life; cure you of the tendency of making the diagnosis of malaria the scapegoat of every unfinished or impossible diagnosis; she will teach you that the frequent and reckless domestic use of chlorate of potassium leads to many a case of ailment, to chronic poisoning, possibly in the shape of Bright's disease or to acute poisoning with unavoidable death. These are but very few of the things she can do, and but a little of the knowledge she can not but distribute. With the aid of the class of women who frequent our training-schools, the public at large must and will gain, in a short time. Let the number of the schools increase, and increase the number of pupils, and every one of them will be a teacher and an apostle of sound information on sanitary and hygienic subjects. And let nobody leave this place to-night without intending to aid an institution as helpful as this.

Will the pupils come? Certainly they will. There is an increasing demand for their services. Many times had I to wait a day or two before any of the schools could accommodate me. There is no fear that there ever will be too many good nurses. There is fear, either, that many persons of inferior intelligence and morals will present themselves for or obtain admission to a school. By attending the suffering, it is true, many a crude or brutal nature is ennobled; but I should not advise to run the risk of admitting that class at the expense of the sick, or of a rising and beneficent profession. The occasional specimens of