Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts.

Woman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers online

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his money can be taken care of as well as himself, and where
he can be won to temperance and godliness these are in-
deed needed at every port all over the civilized world ; so
that Jack may find friends as well as foes wherever he lands,
and may be indeed the brave, true, God-fearing man that
can guard his country or extend her commerce.


178 Woman's Mission.




Atithoress of" The Schonberg-Cotta Family"

THE object of this Home is to minister to those for whose
restoration to health human aid can do no more, to alleviate
the last sufferings of hopeless disease, and to raise the hearts
of the sufferers to the immortal hopes which Christianity
reveals beyond death.

Hospitals must keep to their great purpose of fighting,
and if possible conquering, disease. When all hope of success
in this great battle is gone, the place of the patient who can-
not be restored to health, has to be yielded to another of the
great multitude of sick folk always in need of healing, who
may be healed. And the hopeless dying sufferer has to be
sent back, in many cases, to a home where skilled nursing is
impossible and suitable diet unattainable ; has to be trans-
ferred from a place where every possible remedy and allevia-
tion that medical science and trained nursing can invent and
apply, are given with unstinted generosity, to be a burden,
and often a source of infection, in the impoverished home
where none of these comforts can be had, though the loving
hearts there would, and do give their life-blood in wearing
toil and privation to procure them.

The only alternative is the workhouse infirmary, which,
greatly as the management and nursing are improved, is by
the mere necessity of its being open to the lowest, a hard
last refuge for those who have been brought up respectably,
and have resolutely struggled to keep up the comfort and
sacredness of a home.

" Friedenheim " Home of Peace for the Dying. 1 79

It is at this point of hopeless need that the door of this
Home is opened to the sufferer. It is essentially woman's
work, and seven years ago this particular kind of misery was
pressed on the heart of Miss Davidson, the foundress of
" Friedenheim." She started with her own funds, and opened
a small house where five men and five women could be
received. To this work she devoted herself entirely, herself
and all she had in her power ; and with the help of friends
carried it on for six years. One hundred and seventy patients
were welcomed there, and of these eighty-three died in the
Home, full of thankfulness for the efficient and loving care
which had brightened and sustained the last hours of feeble-
ness and pain.

Through Miss Davidson's efforts the demand for the
extension of such a work became evident to many medical
men and others, who had long felt the need, and now saw
it practically met. With the help of friends, Miss Davidson
has purchased the lease (for fifty years) of a most suitable
house in Upper Avenue Road, close to Swiss Cottage
Station, in the northern outskirts of London, in which
she can now receive forty patients. The house is large
and airy, with lofty, sunny rooms, wide hall and staircases ;
and a lift has been supplied. There is a separate wing
for the staff of trained lady nurses and probationers. The
large garden ensures fresh air and quiet. The men are on
the first floor, the women on the next, both floors having
balconies to the south ; and there is a third floor especially
intended for those who have known better days, and who will
be thankful to contribute according to their means. The new
Home was opened on November 7, 1892, by the Duchess of
Teck. It is called "Friedenheim" (Home of Peace), and
those who have seen it recognize the appropriateness of the
name, and what the peace is to the poor dying sufferers, of
knowing they have found a haven from which they will be
tossed out no more. The Home has been found especially
welcome in cases of consumption which ordinary hospitals do
not receive, and which even hospitals expressly intended for
them, by the very nature and aim of a hospital as a place of
cure, cannot retain when cure is impossible. Friedenheim is
entirely supported by voluntary subscriptions. Two similar

180 Woman 1 s Mission.

homes have been lately begun, suggested by it ; one in
Holland, and another in London.*

A brief account of a visit paid to the Home may give a
clearer idea than general statements can of what it is

The first characteristic that impresses you is that it is
a home, and not a mere institution for temporary assistance.
The fact of its having been a real home, dear to a family,
tends to produce the impression. Not mere necessaries, but
comfort and beauty, have been thought of in the making of
it. The former owner, in giving it up for a quarter of the
sum it had cost him, said he liked to think how pleased his
wife would have been to know that the sunny rooms which
had been so pleasant to her in her long last illness would be
a comfort to others. One sees this home-like character in
every arrangement ; in the neat and pretty little trays and
services for the meals in bed, in the wards, kitchens, and
pantries. The furniture has not been bought in quantities
monotonously alike. It is a collection of gifts. One kind
old gentleman, a widower, not caring to keep up his house
alone, and choosing to end his days in lodgings, sent all his
furniture, four van-loads, to Friedenheim ; and others have
supplemented the generous gift with various things pleasant
to the eye, and good for use. There are pictures in the hall,
in the sitting-room of the staff-nurses, good carpets, hand-
some tables and chairs, bookcases, inlaid cabinets, and in
the wards comfortable easy-chairs, invalid couches, and
screens. One lady in her last illness left to the Home all
the appliances, bed-table, bed-rest, and other things, which
had been a relief to her. There is no dull uniformity in the
invalid dress, or bed-coverings, or anything. On the walls
are illuminated texts, on the chimney-pieces are pictures, and
photographs of those after whom some of the wards are
named. Over one fireplace is the portrait of the young Duke
of Clarence presented by the Princess May ; over another, in
the Frederica Ward, the lovely bright face of Frederica
Dunbar, the " friend " to whom the Duchess of Teck alluded

* There is also a hospice for the dying in Dublin, of which a touching
account is given by Mrs. Gilbert at the close of her Paper " On the Philanthropic
Work of Women in Ireland." B.-C.

" Friedenheim " Home of Peace for the Dying. 1 8 1

so tenderly in her speech on the opening day. The three
paying wards were named after the Princess Christian and
her daughters, when she visited Friedenheim privately,
entering into every detail with comprehending sympathy and
interest. But the real pathetic reason for this look of home
in the place is from its essential nature. Those who enter
there are not passing through, after a brief stay of a few
weeks. They have the inexpressible sense of repose given
by the knowledge that they need never go away. The weary
search for fresh "letters," the fear of wearing out their
welcome, or overtaxing the resources of relations or friends,
are gone for ever. They are welcome here as long as they can
stay, as long as they have anything to do with our poor
earthly needs. They are no burden to any one. The Home
is their own meant for them, made for them. The longer
the feeble failing strength can be upheld, the better the
devoted nurses will be pleased. Every alleviation of suffer-
ing is a victory of love and patience. The skill of the trained
nursing is not wasted because it is preparing for the rest and
service of the Home above, instead of a return to the toil and
struggle here. The ceaseless services endear patients and
nurses to each other. They do not wish to part : the poor
sufferers will be missed when the last tender ministry has
been rendered.

And need I say how the atmosphere of peace and tender-
ness opens the hearts of the sufferers to comprehend the love
which inspires it, to anticipate the perfect peace of the place
in the Father's House that love is preparing ? Christianity,
in all the unfathomable depths of its love and peace, steals
softly into hearts so surrounded with its loveliest fruits.
They breathe-in new faith in goodness, in happiness, in
Christ the Redeemer and Healer, in the Father who "even
as a father pities his children," pities each of them. The
doubt of Divine goodness, the struggle with the Divine will,
melt imperceptibly away. Trust, submission, acquiescence,
thankfulness, peace, hope, joy, flow softly into heart after
heart : those who are with them see it in the change in the
worn and furrowed faces of those, for instance, who are there
at this moment.

In one corner of the men's ward lies a postman, one of

182 Woman s Mission.

those who serve us so faithfully through cold and heat, night
and day. His last journey in our service is done ; no need to
struggle through another day's round. He is not too ill to
find refreshment in being moved by day to an invalid couch,
and there it is for him by the cosy fireside. In another corner
is one whose life has been a waste of many opportunities
faithfully watched over and helped by a good brother, and
never despaired of through all the turns upward and falls
downward ; now at last gently won back by repentance, and
faith in Him Who seeks until He finds. Those in this Home
would never be content unless the reproach rest on it, " This
Man receiveth sinners," unless it could give restoration to the
lives that have failed, as well as completion to those who have

In one of the women's wards is a touching group of six.
One is a servant, who said with beaming face and trembling
voice, " Every comfort that heart could wish ; " having minis-
tered to others, she is now tenderly ministered to herself.
Another is a sick nurse, receiving what she has given to
many. Her eyes are weak, and there are plans for shading
them from the light. In one corner is a crippled girl of
seventeen ; for six years she was well cared for in a Home for
Crippled Children, where it is not possible, with justice to the
other inmates, to give the care needed for the last difficult
days. Another, with the delicate beauty of consumption, is
propped up on her pillows, happy in being able to help for
a little while by sewing at a nurse's apron. She is an orphan
without any relations. She worked to the last moment in a
laundry ; and when her strength failed, friends had cared for
her to the extent of their power. In another ward is a young
married woman who had no friends to nurse her, and whose
husband had to be out all day to earn the daily bread. When
she first came the bitterness of death was not on her, and
there was revolt against the loss of all that was dear to her
in life. But all that gently melted into trust and peace.
She had a quiet nook to herself screened off, where her
husband could be with her alone whenever he came.

It is, indeed, no mere work of benevolence, granting what
cannot in justice be refused. It is love, giving as much as it
can ceaselessly on the watch, with tender inventiveness, to

" Friedenheim " Home of Peace for the Dying. 183

relieve each individual pang and uneasiness. Suffering only
quickens its tenderness ; sin calls out the deepest yearnings of
its compassion.

The Christian religion has remedies not only for those
weary with the sorrows of life, but for those wounded or
crippled by its sins. It meets them not only with the angels'
hymn of good will to men, but with the redeeming agony,
the " Father, forgive them," of the Cross. The love with which
they have been loved is, indeed, love stronger than death
love which abolishes death, living through death and beyond
it, in the life beyond it for ever ; and, therefore, love which
inspires and enables those loving Christian women to make
a home for the dying.

184 Woman's Mission.


I. A NEW art and a new science has been created since and
within the last forty years. And with it a new profession
so they say ; we say, calling. One would think this had
been created or discovered for some new want or local want.
Not so. The want is nearly as old as the world, nearly as
large as the world, as pressing as life or death. It is that of
sickness. And the art is that of nursing the sick. Please
m ark nursing the sick ; not nursing sickness. We will call
the art nursing proper. This is generally practised by women
under scientific heads physicians and surgeons. This is
one of the distinctions between nursing proper and medicine,
though a very famous and successful physician did say, when
asked how he treated pneumonia : " I do not treat pneumonia,
I treat the person who has pneumonia." This is the reason
why nursing proper can only be taught by the patient's bed-
side, and in the sick-room or ward. Neither can it be taught
by lectures or by books, though these are valuable accessories,
if used as such ; otherwise what is in the book stays in the

II. But since God did not mean mothers to be always
accompanied by doctors, there is a want older still and larger
still. And a new science has also been created to meet it, but
not the accompanying art, as far as households are concerned,
families, schools, workshops ; though it is an art which con-
cerns every family in the world, which can only be taught
from the home in the home.

This is the art of health, which every mother, girl, mistress,
teacher, child's nurse, every woman ought practically to learn.

Sick-nursing and Health-nursing. 185

But she is supposed to know it all by instinct, like a bird.
Call it health-nursing or general nursing what you please.
Upon womankind the national health, as far as the household
goes, depends. She must recognize the laws of life, the laws
of health, as the nurse proper must recognize the laws of
sickness, the causes of sickness, the symptoms of the disease,
or the symptoms, it may be, not of the disease, but of the
nursing, bad or good.

It is the want of the art of health, then, of the cultivation
of health, which has only lately been discovered ; and great
organizations have been made to meet it, and a whole litera-
ture created. We have medical officers of health ; immense
sanitary works. We have not nurses, " missioners " of

How to bring these great medical officers to bear on the
families, the homes and households, and habits of the people,
rich as well as poor, has not been discovered, although family
comes before Acts of Parliament. One would think " family "
had no health to look after. And woman, the great mistress
of family life, by whom everybody is born, has not been
practically instructed at all. Everything has come before
health. We are not to look after health, but after sickness.
Well, we are to be convinced of error before we are convinced
of right ; the discovery of sin comes before the discovery of
righteousness, we are told on the highest authority.

Though everybody must be born, there is probably no
knowledge more neglected than this, nor more important for
the great mass of women, viz. how to feed, wash, and clothe
the baby, and how to secure the utmost cleanliness for
mother and infant. Midwives certainly neither practise nor
teach it. And I have even been informed that many lady
doctors consider that they have " nothing to do with the
baby," and that they should "lose caste with the men
doctors" if they attempted it. One would have thought
that the " ladies " " lost caste " with themselves for not doing
it, and that it was the veiy reason why we wished for the
" lady doctors," for them to assume these cares which touch
the very health of everybody from the beginning. But I
have known the most admirable exceptions to this most
cruel rule.

1 86 Woman s Mission.

I know of no systematic teaching, for the ordinary
midwife or the ordinary mother, how to keep' the baby in
health, certainly the most important function to make
a healthy nation. The human baby is not an invalid ; but
it is the most tender form of animal life. This is only
one, but a supremely important instance of the want of

III. As the discovery of error comes before that of right,
both in order and in fact, we will take first: (a) Sickness,
nursing the sick ; training needful ; () Health, nursing the
well at home ; practical teaching needful. We will then
refer to (IV.) some dangers to which nurses are subject ;
(V.) the benefit of combination ; and (VI.) our hopes for the

What is sickness ? Sickness or disease is Nature's way
of getting rid of the effects of conditions which have
interfered with health. It is Nature's attempt to cure.
We have to help her. Diseases are, practically speaking,
adjectives, not noun substantives. What is health ? Health
is not only to be well, but to be able to use well every power
we have. What is nursing ? Both kinds of nursing are to
put us in the best possible conditions for Nature to restore
or to preserve health to prevent or to cure disease or injury.
Upon nursing proper, under scientific heads, physicians or
surgeons, must depend partly, perhaps mainly, whether
Nature succeeds or fails in her attempts to cure by sickness.
Nursing proper is therefore to help the patient suffering from
disease to live just as health-nursing is to keep or put the
constitution of the healthy child or human being in such a
state as to have no disease.

What is training? Training is to teach the nurse to
help the patient to live. Nursing the sick is an art, and an
art requiring an organized, practical, and scientific training ;
for nursing is the skilled servant of medicine, surgery, and
hygiene. A good nurse of twenty years ago had not to do
the twentieth part of what she is required by her physician
or surgeon to do now ; and so, after the year's training, she
must be still training under instruction in her first and even
second year's hospital service. The physician prescribes for
supplying the vital force, but the nurse supplies it. Training

Sick-nursing and Health-nursing. 187

is to teach the nurse how God makes health, and how He
makes disease. Training is to teach a nurse to know her
business, that is, to observe exactly, to understand, to know
exactly, to do, to tell exactly, in such stupendous issues as
life and death, health and disease. Training has to make
her, not servile, but loyal to medical orders and authorities.
True loyalty to orders cannot be without the independent
sense or energy of responsibility, which alone secures real
trustworthiness. Training is to teach the nurse how to
handle the agencies within our control which restore health
and life, in strict, intelligent obedience to the physician's or
surgeon's power and knowledge ; how to keep the health
mechanism prescribed to her in gear. Training must show
her how the effects on life of nursing may be calculated with
nice precision, such care or carelessness, such a sick-rate,
such a duration of case, such a death-rate.

What is discipline? Discipline is the essence of moral
training. The best lady-trainer of probationer nurses I know
says, " It is education, instruction, training all that, in fact,
goes to the full development of our faculties, moral, physical,
and spiritual, not only for this life, but looking on this life as
the training-ground for the future and higher life. Then
discipline embraces order, method ; and as we gain some
knowledge of the laws of Nature (' God's laws '), we not only
see order, method, a place for everything, each its own work,
but we find no waste of material or force or space ; we find,
too, no hurry, and we learn to have patience with our circum-
stances and ourselves ; and so, as we go on learning, we
become more disciplined, more content to work where we are
placed, more anxious to fill our appointed work than to see
the result thereof. And so God, no doubt, gives us the
required patience and steadfastness to continue in our ' blessed
drudgery/ which is the discipline He sees best for most of us."

What makes a good training-school for nurses ? The
most favourable conditions for the administration of the
hospital are :

First. A good lay administration with a chief executive
officer, a civilian (be he called treasurer or permanent chair-
man of committee), with power delegated to him by the
committee, who gives his time. This is the main thing.

1 88 W&mcwis Mission.

With a consulting committee, meeting regularly, of business
men, taking the opinions of the medical officers. The medical
officers on the committee must be only consulting medical
officers, not executive. If the latter, they have often to judge
in their own case, which is fatal. Doctors are not necessarily
administrators (the executive), any more than the executive
are necessarily doctors. Vest the charge of financial matters
and general supervision, and the whole administration of the
hospital or infirmary, in the board or committee acting
through the permanent chairman or other officer who is re-
sponsible to that board or committee.

Secondly. A strong body of medical officers, visiting and
resident, and a medical school.

Thirdly. The government of hospitals in the point of
view of the real responsibility for the conduct and discipline
of the nurses being thrown upon the matron (superintendent
of nurses), who is herself a trained nurse, and the real head of
all the female staff of the hospital. Vest the whole respon-
sibility for nursing, internal management, for discipline and
training of nurses in this one female head of the nursing staff,
whatever called. She should be herself responsible directly
to the constituted hospital authorities, and all her nurses and
servants should, in the performance of their duties, be respon-
sible, in matters of conduct and discipline, to her only. No
good ever comes of the constituted authorities placing them-
selves in the office which they have sanctioned her occupying.
No good ever comes of any one interfering between the head
of the nursing establishment and her nurses. It is fatal to
discipline. Without such discipline the main object of the
whole hospital organization, viz. to carry out effectively the
orders of the physicians and surgeons with regard to the
treatment of the patients, will not be attained.

Having then, as a basis, a well-organized hospital, we re-
quire, as further conditions: (l) a special organization for tJie
purpose of training, that is, where systematic technical training
is given in the wards to the probationers ; where it is the
business of the ward " sisters " to train them, to keep records
of their progress, to take " stock " of them ; where the pro-
bationers are not set down in the wards to " pick up " as
they can. (2) A good " home " for the probationers in the

Sick-nursing and Health-nursing. 189

hospital, where they learn moral discipline for technical
training is only half the battle, perhaps less than half where
the probationers are steadily "mothered" by a "home"
sister (class mistress).

(3) Staff of training school, (a) A trained matron over
all, who is not only a housekeeper, but distinctly the head
and superintendent of the nursing, (b} A " home " sister
(assistant superintendent) making the " home " a real home
to the probationers, giving them classes, disciplining their
life, (c) Ward Sisters (head nurses of wards) who have
been trained in the school to a certain degree permanent,
that is, not constantly changing. For they are the key to
the whole situation, matron influencing through them nurses
(day and night), probationers, ward-maids, patients. For,
after all, the hospital is for the good of the patients, not
for the good of the nurses. And the patients are not there
to teach probationers upon. Rather, probationers had better
not be there at all, unless they understand that they are
there for the patients, and not for themselves.

There should be an entente cordiale between matron,
assistant matrons, "home" sister, and whatever other
female head there is, with frequent informal meetings, ex-
changing information, or there can be no unity in training.

Nursing proper means, besides giving the medicines and
stimulants prescribed, or the surgical appliances, the proper
use of fresh air (ventilation), light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet,
and the proper choosing and giving of diet, all at the least

Online LibraryAngela Georgina Burdett-CouttsWoman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers → online text (page 18 of 49)