Saturday, 5 January 2013

From the papers

The British Journal of Nursing was a weekly paper for the professional nurse, giving all types of information and clinical advice and providing a meeting place for nurses who were often isolated due to the fact that many of them worked solely in private houses. It often took a rather biased view towards subjects that the editor, Ethel Bedford Fenwick, felt strongly about, and she appeared to take great pleasure in stirring up strong views on every side.  At present I'm browsing the pages to follow the debate surrounding increasing problems with the award of the Royal Red Cross, and have picked out a few news items that have caught my eye along the way.


21 July 1917
At Nottingham recently, Alice Cave, posing as a Red Cross nurse-who took shelter during a heavy rainstorm in the house of Mr. John A. Nugent, and abused his hospitality by stealing a gold watch-was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.  In sentencing her the chairman of the bench, Mr. Snook, said the magistrates regarded her action in obtaining advantages by wearing the Red Cross Badge as the most serious part of the offence. Her crime against the Decalogue would apparently have been less heinous had she been wearing the uniform of the thoroughly trained and certificated nurse-that of the Nottingham General Hospital, for instance.
‘Thou shalt not wear the Badge of the Red Cross unlawfully’ appears to take precedence of the Commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ in the opinion of Nottingham magistrates.

25 August 1917
  ‘A Trained Nurse of 1901’ replying in The Times to a V.A.D. who asserts that many of the keenest V.A.D. nurses are leaving their detachments because they feel there is no urgent need for their services: also that they are extremely dissatisfied with their prospects after the war, when they will have no recognised status, even though they have nursed regularly for three years or more, writes :-
‘‘ May I remind her that members of Voluntary Aid Detachments were enrolled to assist in hospitals, &c., working in a patriotic spirit, to give help where help was required, and not with the object of gaining a status for themselves ? As regards length of experience among the sick, those who how most of the subject will agree that this does not constitute a ‘training,’ nor give knowledge of the many and varied conditions under which the trained nurse is called upon to act.   If V.A.D. and those others who are dissatisfied with her will enter a recognised training school, take their share also in looking after the women and children of the Empire, and go through the necessary courses and examinations essential to a training, they need have no anxiety.

22 September 1917
The Railway Executive Committee announces that war nurses going on holiday are to be allowed a third-class return ticket on payment of the present-day third-class single fare. The Committee state that the concession will be available for all ‘women nurses, probationers, and masseuses, whose whole time is employed at hospitals, convalescent homes, &c., recognised by the military authorities, but yet not under military Control.’  The nurses must travel in uniform, and must obtain their vouchers from the matron or medical officer in charge of the institution where they are working. Such a voucher can only be issued to each nurse once in every six months. The Railway Executive Committee guard their position by
the proviso that these facilities may be withdrawn at any time.


The British Journal of Nursing can be searched and browsed online

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