The Age of Hospital Reform
Florence Nightingale 1820-1910
Miss Stanley (who some say was the real heroine of nursing) arrived later with 46 other nurses (at first this reinforcement was objected to by Nightingale).
It was a fact that Miss Stanley held more respect for the care to the wounded that was given by her team, the figures on the state of the wounded will testify to that. She was an uncompromising critic of Nightingale and the other ladies whom she felt were not physically and socially equipped for the work they endeavoured to do. 197 (In effect what she was saying that they were snobs)
However, although the majority view of Nightingales role was that it was overstated, the results are what matter and Florence Nightingale had set in motion with the rest of the nurses, a system of patient care that obtained excellent results.
It is a fact though that Florence Nightingale was a high class snob, and spoke down to medical officers of a lesser class.
The reason why nurses in the three services are commissioned, is a legacy of the original Florence Nightingale nurses, these nurses were all members of the gentry and it seemed appropriate at the time to commission these "Lady
"nurses so as they would not have to mix with the other ranks.
This tradition has in part carried on until now where nurses can apply for a nursing commission.
Florence Nightingale went on to write papers about the sanitary state of not only the British army’s medical facilities and hospitals but also those within what we now call the NHS. She died in 1910, but her legacy lives on.
Mary Seacole is the third nurse of the Nightingale era. Rejected by Florence Nightingale, (some suggest because of race reasons) when the call was made by the Times Newspaper for nurses to go to the Crimea.
She was definitely born on the Island of Jamaica and christened Mary Jane Grant, she had an Afro-Caribbean Mother and a Scottish father, who was it believed to be an Army officer. She was taught herbal medicine and nursing from an early age.
She travelled to London in 1836 and met and married Edwin Horatio Seacole and godson of Admiral Lord Nelson.
Her husband died years later and Mary returned to the Caribbean to assist her mother who was a herbalist and also ran a boarding house. She returned to England in 1854 and offered her services, and after being rejected by Nightingale, she funded her own passage to the Crimea.
Mary Seacole arrived in the Crimea in February of 1855 and set up with the help of Thomas Day who was a friend of her late husband a hotel in between Balaclava and Sevastopol In between seeing to the sick and wounded, she sold some of her herbal remedies.
It is a sad fact that she received hardly any recognition during her time in the Crimea, except of course from the sick and injured who described her as a wonderful woman.
Clarissa Harlowe Barton 1821-1912
The American comparable to
Florence Nightingale was Clarissa Barton or Clara, as she wished to be called.
She was born on Christmas Day 1821 and she is one of the most honoured
women in American history for being a true pioneer as well as an outstanding
humanitarian. As pioneer, she began teaching school at a time when most teachers
were men. She was among the first women to gain employment in the federal
government. As a pioneer and humanitarian, she risked her life when she was
nearly 40 years old to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field
during the Civil War. Then, at age 60, she founded the American Red Cross in
1881 and led it for the next 23 years. Her understanding of the needs of people
in distress and the ways in which she could provide help to them guided her
throughout her life. By the force of her personal example, she opened paths to
the new field of volunteer service. Her intense devotion to the aim of serving
others resulted in enough achievements to fill several ordinary lifetimes. 289
"The world is put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality." 194