This week was an interesting read. I read about 77 female nurses that were captured during World War II. These nurses still carried on their duties as nurses and took care of the wounded soldiers that were also captured. They were in horrible camps, starving themselves, and had illness and disease. This didn’t stop them. They continued to care for others. I have loved reading about these nurses during these time because it reminds me why I became a nurse. I wanted to help people and at times I think I forget the reason I became a nurse and this has been a good reminder.
During the time period this week, I read about how after the Civil War nursing schools were being filled with nursing students but this was also the time the Great Depression started so there were no jobs for the new nurses. At the end of the Great Depression, more jobs came along due to the advances in medicine. Nurses were paid $25/month, which is insane to me. I thought I got paid poorly as a nurse.
What I really enjoyed though, was learning more about Walt Whitman. I decided to focus on one of his poems this week and I loved reading through it and visualizing his experience during the Civil War taking care of these wounded soldiers. I read a poem called the Wound Dresser. This was an amazing poem about his time during the Civil War and I really enjoyed reading this poem.
This week I read about a nurse named Peggy that worked in France on the front lines to help the wounded soldiers. She talked about how she heard moans and groans of the men all day from their wounds, about the sights of the wounds and infections that she witnessed, and how after witnessing the war she finally understood what war was about. Unfortunately, Peggy passed away while at war from double pneumonia from working in an isolation unit with wounded men. There were pictures on the website of her and her funeral and they were amazing to see. I cannot imagine seeing and working in those conditions during the war. The article also talked about how many volunteers passed away while taking care of wounded men.
I think about what I see daily working in the emergency department. I see a lot of traumatic injuries and witness horrible things that happen to people and I can only imagine that being a nurse during the war is ten times worse. I also take care of a lot of sick people and I am exposed to TB, meningitis, chicken pox, and many others infections. Luckily, today we have many immunizations that keep us safe.
For this week I read an article based out of Scotland. It was really interesting to read because it talked about how nurses finally started to get paid for the care that they were giving. It also talked about some of the training that nurses had to go through. It is amazing to see the difference in nurse training and how different it is today. The article also talked about a doctor that realized nurses needed to have more knowledge based on human anatomy, physiology, medicine, and therapeutics.
I am glad that I work as a nurse in todays world. I can’t imagine doing this job for free, especially after a shift like I had today. Nurses back then had to be extremely motivated and had to have had a great love for caring for others in unsanitary conditions for no pay. I am also grateful that I went to school and learned about anatomy, physiology, medicine, and therapeutics.
This week I learned about a lady named Clara Barton, she was the founder of The Red Cross. She was an amazing person and assisted in helping wounded soldiers and gathering supplies for them in many wars and Battles. Her first experience with gathering supplies from volunteers was during The Baltimore Riot, she left her job to tend to the soldiers and would write back to her friends and family and tell them to send supplies. From there she went on to travel the world in helping soldiers. She then founded The Red Cross that continues to help those in need today, not just during wars or battles but with many other disasters. During her later life she would travel the world and lecture on what her life was like as a war nurse. She continued to help those in need until she was 76 and traveled to Cuba to help there.
She is an inspiration to a lot of people and shows them that with dedication and hard work you can do anything.
This week during the time period 1830-1850, we finally got to start reading about Florence Nightingale and her amazing journey as a nurse. She was a very smart and educated person. She had an amazing passion for helping others. I did not realize that it was her work that helped reduce the deaths in the Crimean War by helping with the sanitation needs. After learning more about her career, I can see why at the end of nursing school we take the Florence Nightingale pledge. I don’t feel like we learned enough about her life as a nurse during nursing to fully understand why we take that pledge at graduation. Now, I can see why we did. She was such an influential person and made a world of difference for those she cared for, which is what we as nurses are suppose to do.
During the time period being studied this week, I found out how nursing homes came to be. As people got older and could not care for themselves anymore, it was the families responsibility to care for them. If the family could not care for the elderly, the family would place them in what was called “poorhouses.” These were awful places to live. They were unclean, unkept, patients had to wear uniforms, and the elderly were housed with alcoholics and the mentally ill. Sara Ralston made a home for the elderly that was funded by the community and was able to place thirty women in the home with a housing fee of $150 to stay there. She cared for these women and gave them a good home.
I cannot imagine living in a “poorhouse,” they sound like a horrible place to live. I have been to some nursing homes and take care of many patients that come from nursing homes and I think some of these nursing homes are just as bad as the “poorhouses.” When I take care of these patients I give them the best care and attention that I can give them while they are in my care because I do not think they are getting the best care at some of these nursing homes and it breaks my heart. So, while they are in my care I do my best to help them in whatever way I can.
Also, learning about Walt Whitman’s story of being a Civil War nurse was very interesting. I did not know that Washington has a clinic in his memory.
I also had a hard time finding information on what nursing was like during the 17 and 18 century, but what I did find was interesting. A lot of the people who took care of the sick during this time were nuns and other parts of the ministry that took care of sick people that wanted to continue Christ’s work. The group I found were called, “The Daughter’s of Charity.” It was a group of people who did not become nuns so that they could continue their work in the towns and cities and help those in need. The Daughter’s of Charity also wanted to continue on with Christ’s work and helped the sick. The other articles that were read and talked about with my group were also about groups that wanted to continue on with Christ’s work and that nurses need to remember to take care of themselves in order to help those in need. I think a lot of the time nurses often forget to take care of themselves which can be extremely harmful to their own health and well being.
For our Wiki page I did learn a lot about Walt Whitman and his early life that I was not aware of. His life story is very interesting.
I think the thing that stood out to me the most this week was not what I learned about during nursing during the specific time period, but that as nurses we need to remember to take care of ourselves in order to take better care of our patients. If we do not take care of ourselves as nurses the greater risk we run of harming our patients, which is the last thing we would ever intend on doing.
This weeks topic was on nursing prior to 1600 A.D. I had a very hard time finding information on this topic that was published within the last five years, I did not think this topic would be so hard to find information on. It was interesting though, that what I could find on the topic it talked about how it was mostly the church that would help and tend to the sick and needy. I found an article that talked about a group of people that still exist today called The Alexian Brothers. This was a group of people who wanted to carry on Christ’s work and help those in need. This group of people stayed behind to help those who were infected with the Black Plague. They would tend to the sick then bury the bodies when they died. They never judged anyone, they just took care of those in need.
I can use this in my nursing practice today by not judging those that are in need of help. I work in the emergency department and I see so much crap and sometimes I think to myself, this would not have happened if the person was not drunk or high on drugs. I still take care of the patient the best I can but I could easily not judge them for their faults.
My name is Amber Baird and I have been a nurse for the past six years at Utah Valley Hospital in the ED. I have loved every minute of it. The ED is my home and I cannot imagine my self anywhere else. I am going back to school so that I can apply for NP school and become a trauma NP.
The purpose of my reflective journal is to be able to look back at what I have learned through out the semester and grow from my experiences in school.