During the 1830s British hospitals were a far cry from the standard of healthcare we expect at all. With a lack of institutions to cater for the seriously ill, those who did receive treatment would not necessarily benefit from being hospitalized, as the care available was hardly an improvement on being nursed at home. The Victorian period saw a vast growth in the number of hospitals in Britain and these infirmaries became increasingly involved with the education of health care and medical professions. Yet despite the growing role of hospitals, there were wide variations in the quality of medical services available. The types of hospitals that were available, differ from the celebrated specialist institutions served by famous surgeons to the appalling workhouse infirmaries where the patients were looked after by untrained pauper nurses. the buildings, beds, waiting rooms and even ambulances that served the Victorian people, was the healthcare mostly available to the rich rather than the poor.
If one believed that the lower and labouring classes were unclean, immoral, and animalistic, one had to ask why a healthy woman capable of breast feeding would turn to a wet nurse. During the Victorian Era, there appeared to have been the practice of breast feeding of infants by other members of the family other than the mother. Wet nursing mostly occured between upper-class women. A wet nurse was an outsider hired to breast feed. There is no doubt that wet nursing had been widely practiced in a many cultures especially Victorian England. Wet nursing was popular around this time because it was during the era that nude paintings were painted and women felt as if their breast would become disfigured. The safest way to acquire such an employee was through a Lying-in Hospital. The Times regularly carried advertisements. Typically, Queen Charlotte's Lying-in Hospital advertised in March of 1888 stated that "wet nurses promptly supplied on application to the Matron," and the General Lying-in Hospital in York road, Lambeth advertised in the last year of the century, on 4 September, that "Wet Nurses ... can always be obtained on application to the Matron." In addition wet-nurses were sometimes available through the workhouses. According to The Times of 15 October 1836, in some workhouses, when a woman was admitted and gave birth, the parish officers would, after the birth, recommend them as wet nurse, which is their usual mode of providing for unfortunate persons of this kind.
I find my occupation to be one of those that some would not even consider. Even though the salary is nothing to make anyone stay, I enjoy my job because I know I am helping people in need. Every job has its likes aswell as dislikes. I would say the worst part of my job would be the working conditions. Since there is no type of electricity, nurses must have to be carrying a lamp, especially after sunsewhen it gets dark it is nearly impossible to see. Even then I find myself tripping over minuscule objects. It also is very unsanitary. you can always see blood either on the floor or on the walls due to types of surgery that occur in the hospitals. Another downfall of the hospital is the fact that most of our patients are very ill mattered and need somewhere to lay, but since we don't have enough beds, they must lay on the floor. Also, medical supplies are very limited which is another reason why diseases spread out within the patients. Even though my job is not known to be the most pleasant job, I try to make the best out of what I have to help cure innocent patients.
When I began to work at the Founding Hospital in London, I had to wear certain type of clothing, which seemed to be very similar to the rest of the nurses. As a female nurse we wore a soft crinoline skirt with a full apron. Pinafores, still collars, puffy sleeves, and removable cuffs describe my uniform perfectly! Nursing was 1 of 3 medical professions which were opened to the middle-class women. The other two choices; midwifery and doctoring didn’t interest me as much so I decided to stick to nursing. A doctor’s profession was characterized to only belong to males. We women were to stay within the will that God had assigned to us. Just like Florence NIghtingale looked up to God, i looked up to her. She was a very talented and brave women. All the patients loved Nightingale because was so caring. Not only was she a cared for nurse but she also set almost all nursing systems and techniques we use. She is my inspiration of becoming a better nurse each and every day.
Many of the other nurses do not act as I do. They are very blunt and not soft spoken at all. I hate to say that the treatment of our patients here is somewhat odd. It is more than just a clinic for the ill, some of my fellow peers enjoy having sexually relations with these battered and beaten men, but mostly the injured soldiers who feel as if they nee company since they are away from home. The men don’t seem to mind though and will even suggest it from time to time. I try to treat my patients well and nurse them just like Nightingale, but mostly just like my title states. They wish for me to provide the same feeling of my walls that my peers do. When the patients start getting out of control and start taking it a little too far, I curse at them and remove their hands from my garments. Fellow nurses always tell m often to join in with them, but I simply just amuse them by saying "maybe next time"... works every time.
As population increased, diseases also began to grow. There weren’t many treatments to cure most of the diseases but if there was, it was a very slight treatment. Cholera was one of the many diseases that flowed around, which is caused by human waste in drinking water. Cholera was a big hit around 1848in which about 2,000 people a week kept dying in England. Typhus was also a common disease during the Victorian Era. Typhus was spread by body lice and dirty conditions. This disease was very difficult to treat and was known to be a ‘significant killer’. Not only was Typhus a difficult disease to treat, but also tuberculosis of the lungs. Since this disease was very contagious it killed hundreds of thousands of English during the 19th and 20th century. Only the ones who could afford better treatment would be sent to a sanitarium.
In 1820, the mother of nursing, Florence Nightingale was born into the wealthy family of William Nightingale and Fanny Nightingale. She was baptized in the Church of England and as a teenager she would write in her diary about how Jesus Christ called her to His service. At the age of 25, Florence told her parents she wanted to become a nurse. Her parents didn’t agree with her decision because nursing had a reputation of being associated with alcoholism and prostitution. Even though her parents didn’t agree with her decision, Florence kept serving Jesus and became a Nursing Superintendent in London in 1853.
Florence Nightingale is known most for helping wounded British soldiers in the Crimean War. To these soldiers, she was known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’. Nightingale, along with 38 other nurses, took care and tried to cure the soldiers’ wounds, but this became hard to do because the condition of the hospital was dreadful. She fought to get better conditions for the soldiers since there were no medicine supplies, no furniture, no operating tables, and very few beds. She suggested that if there was better sanitation in the hospital, there would be fewer deaths due to infections and preventable diseases. Florence Nightingale laid in peace in 1910at the age of 90 but left many contributions toward the nursing field.