Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not/Appendix

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25,466 were returned, at the census of 1851, as nurses by profession, 39,139 nurses in domestic service,[1] and 2,822 midwives. The numbers of different ages are shown in table A, and in table B their distribution over Great Britain.

To increase the efficiency of this class, and to make as many of them as possible the disciples of the true doctrines of health, would be a great national work.

For there the material exists, and will be used for nursing, whether the real "conclusion of the matter " be to nurse or poison the sick. A man, who stands perhaps at the head of our medical profession, once said to me, "I send a nurse into a private family to nurse the sick, but I know that is only to do them harm."

Now a nurse means any person in charge of the personal health of another. And, in the preceding notes, the term nurse is used indiscriminately for amateur and professional nurses. For, besides nurses of the sick and nurses of children, the numbers of whom are here given, there are friends or relations who take temporary charge of a sick person, there are mothers of families. It appears as if these unprofessional nurses were just as much in want of knowledge of the laws of health as professional ones.

Then there are the schoolmistresses of all national and other schools throughout the kingdom. How many of children's epidemics originate in these! Then the proportion of girls in these schools who become mothers or members among the 64,000 nurses recorded above, or schoolmistresses in their turn. If the laws of health, as far as regards fresh air, cleanliness, light, &c., were taught to these, would this not prevent some

children being killed, some evil being perpetuated? On women we must depend, first and last, for personal and household hygiene — for preventing the race from degenerating in as far as these things are concerned. Would not the true way of infusing the art of preserving its own health into the human race be to teach the female part of it in schools and hospitals, both by practical teaching and by simple experiments, in as far as these illustrate what may be called the theory of it.
Table A.
Nurses. All Ages. Under 5 Years. 5- 10- 15- 20- 25- 30- 35- 40- 45- 50- 55- 60- 65- 70- 75- 80- 85 and Upwards
Nurse (not Domestic Servant) 25,466 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 624 817 1,118 1,359 2,223 2,748 3,982 3,456 3,825 2,542 1,568 746 311 147
Nurse (Domestic Servant) 39,139 . . . . . 508 7,259 10,355 6,537 4,174 2,495 1,681 1,468 1,206 1,196 833 712 369 204 101 25 16

Table B.
Nurses Nurse (not Domestic Servant) Nurse (Domestic Servant)
Great Britain and Islands in the British Seas. 25,466 21,017
England and Wales. 23,751 18,945
Scotland. 1,543 1,922
Islands in the British Seas. 172 150
1st Division. London. 7,807 5,061
2nd Division. South Eastern. 2,878 2,514
3rd Division. South Midland. 2,286 1,252
4th Division. Eastern Counties. 2,408 959
5th Division. South Western Counties. 3,055 1,737
6th Division. West Midland Counties. 1,225 2,283
7th Division. North Midland Counties. 1,003 957
8th Division. North Western Counties. 970 2,135
9th Division. Yorkshire. 1,074 1,023
10th Division. Northern Counties. 402 410
11th Division. Monmouth and Wales. 343 614
  1. A curious fact will be shown by Tablo A; viz., that 18,122 out of 39, 39 or nearly one half of all the nurses in domestic service, are between 5 and 20 years of age.