Reading Nightingale

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Reading Nightingale

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Editado: Dez 30, 2017, 3:45am

This last month of 2017 I've been reading a hardcopy of The Sisters of Mercy in the Crimean War by Evelyn Bolster. What an eye-opening read! I read Cecil Woodham-Smith's tome on Florence Nightingale a long time ago and thought his was the definitive book on FN. I loved FN. However, Bolster shows another side of FN I'd never heard before. Bolster cites letters from the doctors, nurses, and soldiers FN worked with, and clearly demonstrates FN as a dictator hated by many and loved by few at least in the arena of the Crimean War. She knew how to manipulate the print media to her lasting advantage. At the same time I'm reading (am I the only one who reads more than one book at a time?) Becoming a Romanov: Grand Duchess Elena of Russia and Her World by Marina Soroka and Charles A Ruud (on my Kindle), and am also discovering how actually behind the times FN was in her theories of nursing and hospital administration. In comparison to the Crimean War hospitals run by the French Daughters of Charity (who I read about online), the Russian Holy Cross Community of Nurses (organized by Duchess Elena), and the Irish Sisters of Mercy (in Bolster), FN's hospital in Scutari (in Bolster) was the most expensive, the most chaotic, and the most inefficient in its use of trained nurses. To her credit, she did learn from the other nurse administrators and eventually utilized their methods in Scutari and presented them in her final recommendations to the War Office for reform of the military hospitals, in her book Notes on Nursing, and in her school for nurses - but gave herself all the credit for the ideas. On top of that, FN kept meticulous records of her legendary generosity in spending for the soldiers for which she was reimbursed in total by the English government. All of these books are exciting reads and difficult to put down, at least for me, being a nurse.

The next books on my Crimean War list are: The Crimean War: A History by Orlando Figes, and the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole (about Seacole's work as a Jamaican nurse in the Crimean War independent from any military or government).