« ForrigeFortsæt »
object of pity, if not of contempt. Men in high and influential positions frequently boast of their incomes, and exhibit their list of daily calls, or their bank-books, as an evidence of success. Half of the gossip in professional circles relates to the income of individuals. These false ideas of professional success have taken deep root among us, and are bearing bitter fruits. The recent graduate is driven to seek business as the first great desideratum. He abandons the pursuit of special studies, for which he may have predilection, because they will not immediately "pay." He can not afford to labor patiently in the pursuit of knowledge, and let business come as its sweet reward. Like Ortugal, he demands that "the golden stream be quick and violent." If patients do not immediately seek him, he goes out into the highways and byways and compels them to come in. At all hazards he must have the appearance of business. Urged on by this infatuation, he assumes all the externals of sucHis mode of living, and his equipage, are often far beyond his income, but he lives in the hope that these glittering baubles will advance his business, and in the end reimburse his outlay. He may attain the summit of his ambition, and acquire the largest practice in the community; but it is not improbable that he will sadly fail. But, whether he succeeds or not, he is lost to the science of his profession. He may seek positions in hospitals, schools, and societies, as collateral
aids to success, but in every position he is a nonentity. His name may be trumpeted throughout the world, but no man of education will even recognize it. He dies, and leaves behind him no memorial but the perishable marble. A short generation passes from the stage, and his memory is swept forever from the earth. It is time the profession of this country set up a higher standard of merit than that now so generally adopted. We should pay homage only to genuine worth. The palm of excellence should be given to him who has the profoundest practical knowledge of the science and art of medicine, and who makes that knowledge available to others. As a profession, we should not only cultivate science, but we should also cultivate literary taste. History and observation prove the truth of Zimmermann's remark-"that the greatest medical writers of any age were the best physicians." We have no right to ridicule the man who frequently communicates his views to the profession. While it is true that too many write who have nothing worthy of publication, it is sadly true that many who fill high places withhold altogether their experience from their brethren. There are in this and other communities too many of this latter class. They are intellectually and morally worthy of the confidence of the profession, and capable of being the leaders in the department of practice to which they are especially devoted. By virtue of true merits they have obtained responsible positions
in our hospitals, schools, and associations, and are qualified by long experience and sound judgment to instruct. It is to them that the profession look for sound instruction in practical medicine, surgery, and obstetrics, and for a just estimate of the value of the more recent improvements. But they are sealed books that give no information. They are quick to turn every advantage which official position may have given them to their personal and pecuniary account, but they make no return to those who have raised them to power. They will have their reward in that utter oblivion which is hereafter to cover their names. The close of a life so destitute of substantial results, where large opportunities for usefulness have been neglected, or used only for selfish purposes, ought to excite pity and contempt. But we have become so accustomed to rate that man successful who obtains the largest practice and accumulates the most wealth, that it is difficult to fix a higher standard of greatness in this country. We are, however, hopeful of the coming generation of medical men; they are in general far better qualified by a preliminary education; they have fixed habits of study and investigation; they have more culture and refinement, and are thoroughly imbued with the spirit of progress and improvement.
FEMALE NURSES IN HOSPITALS.
T is conceded that woman may be employed "as the regular administrator of the prescribed medicines," and that she is more capable than the opposite sex of those "delicate, soothing attentions which are always so grateful to the sick." This has already been proved. Welltrained nurses generally win the good opinions of the very physicians who at first are opposed to their admission. Says an observer in a military hospital: "The presence of these ladies has demonstrated that there are numberless little things essential to the comfort of the sick, which not one man in a thousand ever thinks of, but which woman sees by intuition, and supplies as if by magic." We doubt not it will also be admitted that she is better adapted than man to prepare food for the sick, to preserve cleanliness of the wounds, and of the beds, and to regulate and keep in order whatever relates to the domestic appointments of a hospital. Miss Nightingale has aptly said on this point: "I think the Anglo-Saxon would be very sorry to turn women out of his own house, or out of civil hospitals, hotels, institutions of all kinds, and substitute
men housekeepers and men matrons. The contrast between even naval hospitals, where there are female nurses, and military hospitals where there are none, is most striking, in point of order and cleanliness." There can be few who will not agree with her in the opinion, that "the woman is superior in skill to the man in all points of sanitary domestic economy, and more particularly in cleanliness and tidiness ;" and further, that "great sanitary civil reformers will always tell us that they look to the woman to carry out practically their sanitary reforms." What then are the objections to the employment of female nurses in general hospitals? We are not aware what plan will be adopted in hospital practice nor what special duties will be assigned to female nurses, if they are employed; but we know from personal knowledge, that the objections raised are rather imaginary than real in a hospital that has a proper organization. Let us recur to experience. It was our fortune to spend a portion of our medical pupilage as resident in a hospital which was entirely under the supervision of women. This hospital was general in its character, admitting all classes of patients, medical and surgical, and of both sexes. During this period cholera prevailed in the town, and the sick of this disease crowded the wards. The general management was under the direction of a matron who had for years been an experienced hospital nurse. Subordinate to her were six chief