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Both she and Miss Mansel dwell upon the absolute necessity of a general superintendent to answer questions from the different local superintendents on what they ought to do. She says she is constantly asked these questions on matters of which she knows nothing. (She treats all this rather too much as a good joke but, except about her Midwives’ Institute, is never stupid.) Miss Paget says that the discipline of the nurses towards the sisters is much better at the London than at St Thomas’. With regard to probationers , she says her own charge was fifty patients and (I understood) ten probationers. But probably she meant ten nurses (they call them all probationers at the London) and probationers. How could the probationers in either case be properly attended to? I was very glad to see Miss Paget. It is so very useful to have outside trained opinions. But she does talk very fast. What learnt at Bloomsbury: nursing the room (sanitary arrangements in this). What learnt in London Hospital in the wards. Duties of district nurse (Mrs Craven: how far she saw the work done indicated in those questions in room, Bloomsbury, Bolton.) Introduction to Rathbone’s History of District Nursing Editor: In 1890 Nightingale wrote an Introduction to Rathbone’s History of District Nursing, an undertaking which required much correspondence with Rathbone. As usual he was keen to get the material out fast, while she wanted him to rethink certain sections and add material. She enlisted Henry Bonham Carter’s help on the latter, he fearing with her that some of Rathbone’s book would do ‘‘more harm than good,’’ if it went as it was.92 Maternity care was a chief concern here, for inadequate precautions against puerperal fever cost lives. A reference she made in 1890 to the ‘‘original type in the Creator’s mind’’ shows that Nightingale continued to believe in the arguments she set out in Suggestions for Thought in the 1850s. For people to manage worldly affairs for the best, they should find out what God’s intentions were, for the Creator knows best. People should seek to understand the laws of nature (social and physical) and adapt to them. 92 Letter 28 April 1890, Add Mss 47722 f233. Nightingale made the same point to Rathbone (see p 818 below). District Nursing / 815 Source: From a letter to Henry Bonham Carter, Add Mss 47722 f186 21 February 1890 Mr Rathbone, one enclosure. What shall I say to the enclosed? With shame and sorrow I confess that I have done nothing about the ‘‘rewritten History of District Nursing,’’ nor about my ‘‘preface.’’ I ought to see the papers after ‘‘Tuesday,’’ as he kindly offers, but shall do no good with them, I am afraid. . . . Mr Rathbone deserves better of me than I have done. Source: From two letters to William Rathbone, Add Mss 47755 ff159-60 and 163-64 4 March 1890 I have not answered your last kind and generous letter, for which I cannot thank you enough. Yes, decidedly ‘‘print and send to those who write asking about the subject,’’ and circulate your ‘‘rewritten History of District Nursing.’’ But would you not add something about maternity training and nursing? I have at last roughly written the ‘‘Introduction’’ you were pleased to wish for. I hope it may meet your object. (I will have it now typewritten and revise it a little, and shall I send it to you as quickly as possible ?) But I touch a little upon the question of maternity nursing and training, which, if it is to be embraced in your great ‘‘Royal and National Undertaking’’ at all, is a very important branch of it. Perhaps you will see fit to add to the story, as you proposed at first, some fuller account of the Q.V.N.I. To do this would involve some delay. But you ‘‘resolved,’’ I believe, at the first meeting that, pending further information as to what the Q.V.I. was to get from St Katherine ’s, any public announcement of past work should be postponed. Pardon a brief note, which does not express my deep interest. You have my most fervent wishes and prayers for your most perfect success . And, believe me, ever yours overflowingly F. Nightingale God bless you. And He does bless you. 8 March 1890 Introduction to your History of District Nursing. Let me now return your History, which I have kept too long, with a few suggestions for...


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