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The Worcester ' Society for District Nursing

By the Superintendent, Rosebelle Jacobus , R. N.

DISTRICT or visiting been examine d and passed upon by the presid ent, assist­
nursin g is not new; in fact, an t and treasurer. The lady who visits shall get th e
it dates back to the days of nourishmeu t f'rom th e treasurer , cook it and bring it to
St. Paul. Between the pre­ th e in valids, chee rfully an d kindly sa lute t hem on en­
Chr ist ian civilization and tering their ap artments. She shall arrange a tray all
our own the histori cal link th e bed, spreading a napkin over it , an d pl acin g on it
is brok en, but there is a a glass, sp oon and br ead r oll. Next she sh all wash the
record covering nearl y 2000 sick per son 's hands, say grace, and th en , h avin g poured
years to th e present t imo, out the soup and put th e meat in a pla te, she sh all a r­
The ear liest district nurse, range all in th e tray. Sh e shall kindly in vite th e sick
visitor and social worker was person to eat, doing all in a spirit of love as if dealin g
Pheb e of Cenc hr ea, who with her own child. She shall t ry to cheer the invalid
lived ()O A . D ., the fri end if downcast , cutting his f ood and pourin g ou t th e drink.
and helper of Saint .Paul, Thus having set th in gs goin g, if th ere is anyone at
who says of her, " She hath hand she shall leave the rest to him and go on to the
".lES' ~I()TnE HI:\(j."
been a succore r of man y next sick person, whom she shall treat in the same way .
and of myself also. " She was a woman of wealth, im­ She shall reme mber always to begin with those who hav e
portance and di gnity, an d took upon h erself the office some one to help th em and fini sh wi th tho se who ha ve
of deaconess of th e Church of Cenchrea. From her day no one, so as to be able t o rem ain a long er tim e with
the work of th e district nurse has never been unkn own. th em. In the evening, she shall r eturn with the suppe r,
In 1617, Vincent D e Paul went from Sp ain to Franc e. and go through th e sa me ar range men t as before. Each
H e settled in th e hospital and assisted with the work patient sh all receive as mu ch bread as is necessary . with
of what would n ow be called the out- patien t dep art­ a qu arter of a pound of mutton or boiled veal for din­
ment, meantime supervising th e work of th e visit ing n er an d as mu ch roast fo r supper, except on Sundays
sisters, and soon decided th at in order to obt ain bett er and f easts, when boiled chi cken shall be given and two
res ults ther e must be two distin ct departments, one for or three t imes a week min ced p ie. Those who have no
th e regular visiting and one for nu rsing' th e sick,-hence feve r may get a pint of wine every day, half in th e
th e firs t society for district nursing, 1618, called th e mornin g and half in the evening."
"Ladies of Cha rity." Ver y quaint and pract ical were In 1782 we fin d an attempt a t cottage nursing in
th e directions for the work of the members . '" Th e La­ Engl and. 'fhe R ev. Mr. Dolling, Vi car of Aldenham ,
di es of Char ity ' shall visit onl y thos e whose eases have raised subscr ip tions to send women for three month s '


t raining in midwifery pati ent all the care and comf or t that skilled and trained
that they m ight wo rk han ds can give.
amon g t he village A visiting nurse is furn ished with out charge to those
wo men. I n 1867 di s­ una bl e to pay.
tr iet nursin g was well P atien ts in better eiren msta neos aloe expected to pay
estab lis hed in E ng ­ fr om fiv e cents up wards. When ahl e to pay th e r egular
land. I n th e U n ite d f ee of one dollar they arc r eferred to an hourly nurse.
S ta t es, in 1813, H possib le th e n urses will visit in th e mor-ning those
Ch arlest on, S . C., was cas es r epor ted the p r eviou s da y j those coming to the
th e fir st t o take up office bef ore twelve, th e af ter noon of th e sam e clay:
di st rict n ursing. The Th e n urses are f or the public and it is desired that
N ew Y ork City Mis­ physicia ns and othe rs interested in th e sick shall send
sionary Society in f or th em .
1877 was t he first to em ploy a regul a r tra ined nurse. Nu r ses are not ex pe cted to a tte nd mat ernity cases
Boston f oll owed in 1884, P hll aclrlphla in 1886, D ela ware dur ing' labor , but after con­
in 1890, Chicago i n 1892, a nd W orcester in 1892. On finemen t will ca re for moth er
.Iannary 1, 1909 , th ere were 500 asso cia tio ns i n t he and in fa n t u ntil re cove ry .
United States emp loy ing ove r 1300 t rain ed nurses, One hu nd red a nd eigh tee n
Th e W or cester Societ y for Di at rict N ursing was ph ys icians asked fo r our ser­
organized in 1892, incorporated in 1899 , is snp p orted v ices i n 1908, an d $1 ,957 .45
hy volu n ta r y contr ibut ions, empl oys six grad ua tes and was used f or the su pp or t of
three pupil n u rses. This inclndes th e n urse whose sal­ the S ocietv. In 1909 we
ar y is paid by t he Worcester 'I'uber cu losis R eli ef Asso­ n eed at least $2,000 more, if
ciati on. Tw o pup il nurses a re f urn ish ed by the City the opportun ities to increase
Hospi tal an d on e from th e Memor ial H ospital. Th e an d im prove the work offer ­
Society 's headqua r t ers is at 1 E lm Pl ace. Kin d f ri end s, ed th e S ociety are used.
chu rch a nd other societ ies have s uppli ed us wit h sheets, T he f ollowi ng' is from a
pillow-cases, ba by cloth es, luxu ri es a n d necessar ies f or nurse 's dai ly report :
the pati ents, and ex t ra pl easu r es at Chr-ist ma s a n d " i\f y first ca11 was a n ew
East er. cas e- -a child with pn eumo­
Th e basi c princip les upon whi ch t he work is ad mi n ­ nia . I rea ched the house a nd IN THE T UBEKctl.O~ ! ~ 'l'E:-IT.
istered are that t he nursing of t he si ck in th eir hom es fou nd t he occupants all Ital ia n . A man stood in th e
should be done seriously and adequa tely , in structi on door -way , and , as I came alon g, ca lled over his shoulder,
being inciden t to it and not the prim ary mot ive. 'The n u rse. ' Ont of another d oor -wa y ca me a woman
Since t h e addition to t he staff in D ecemb er , 1908, of who said, ' H er e, lady.' Inside t he ro om, ly ing' on two
the nurse for maternity cases, there have b een si xty chairs, was a chi ld of two years, f ully d ressed even to his
pati ents u n der h er care . Visiting h ours are fro m 8.30 sho es. The temp era t u re was taken and regis tered ]()4%.
a.m. to 5.30 p .m. T he nu rse 's wor k is to v isi t. h er pa­ A mor e u n comf ort able little cha p I h av e never seen.
tient s once or t wice a d ay if n ecessary , seeing t hat the Whil e try in g to persu ade the mo th er- to let me re move
physician s ' orders a rc ca r ried out , an d to br ing to eac h some of t he cloth in g a nd bathe t h e littl e f ello w, just as 1



was about to give up th e uniform, as h e cons ide red all women 'a fool bunch,' a
.i ; . task ill despair, the father conclusion reach ed after he h ad wedded his third wife.
~, .r.- •• ,; .. appeared, and npon learn­ Now he says he doesn't care whi ch nurse comes to him,
~tJ:. :' ./i
. I
'( I ing' th e troubl e, pushed his
wife asid e with no tender
1 touch,
as each one is 'a spot of sunshine, '
"The next call is to a bab y of three months, slowly
and said, ' Go on , sh e st ar ving to death because n o f ood can be found to agree
• I a woman , know nothing'. Me with him. .At birth a nd up to two mon th s he was st rong
be ill hospital and know . and well , but his mother one sad day, after weeks of
Take everything off, and temptation , went on a spree and poor baby was so

1. wash for fev er ; do him neglected that his recovery is doubtful. A n eighbor
good. ' 1'1y heart ached for called the nurse's attention to the pitiful cry ing of the
the mother, so sure her boy child, and upon inv estigatin g she fou nd th e mother
was about to be sacrificed, drunk on the floor and the p oor, little, dirty scrap of
but I began my work , mean­ human ity on a bed almost in a state of exha ust ion . Th e
while askin g abou t the doc- mother is heart-broken, for she r eally loves her baby,
ON TH EIR DAT L Y ROl i:-;J)1' . tor 's order s, whi ch th e man and is now followin g instructi ons faithfully . The baby
gave in a seemingly in klligcnt manner. A sp onge bath has an oil rub three tim es a day-twice by th e mother
of soap an d water, and alcohol rub, the mouth clean ed, a and once by the nurse, and the f ood is prepared daily
shee t put over th e old sofa (an improvement on the by the nurse.
chair ) , the boy sleeping in his clean , fr esh bed , wi th "The next visit was to Mrs. B- , the pri ze p ati ent of
only one garment on his now cool little bod y , and in the Society and a p et of us all . Daily h er kn ees must
walk ed th e doctor. I spoke of his order carri ed out for be steam ed and rubbed, her braces adj usted tha t she
bathing, etc.; he looked at me, looked a t th e child, an d may walk around her room ; one year ago sh e walked
at the discarded clothing, laughed and said, 'This is my f or th e first time in yea rs. Sh e usu ally has a mornin g
first visit here ; th e pati ents I ask ed you to see last visit, but is always glad t o wait her tum when more
night a re up stairs, two of them , in the same condition. ' ser ious cases need us.
So up stai rs I went, and began over again . It was t en "The ni nth visit was t o a
o 'clock bef ore I left my Italian friends, after promising little pneumonia conv ales­
to call in th e late afternoon. cen t, a dear littl e gir l of
" My second call was to a woman dying of tuber culo sis. eight. 'I'he evening t emper­
A f ourteen-year-old girl is th e housekeeper and mother ature taken , a sp onge bath
to the three young er child re n . The hou se was ne at and given, and inst ruc ti on as to
clean, the patient was as clea n as th e little gi rl cou ld 1ICr nou rish men t , then back
keep her, but sh e was r estl ess and in much p ain from to my Italian fri end s. All
cons tan t coughing and th e bed sores on her back. After three te m per-at ures 'wer e
th e ba th, wh en her bed had heen freshly mad e, her ver y high . Th e two upstair's
hail' comb ed and teeth cleaned , and had taken some wer e at te nded fjrl:lt-th e
nourishm ent I hall brought fOI> her, she th ought she usu al treat-men t of alcoho1
could sleep, and , after giving some advice to th e littl e spong es, etc. Th e boy clown ­
housekeep er, I went on my way. stairs seemed a little better.
"My thir-d, f ourth and fifth cases wer e very close and fa r more comfo r table
together and all surgical dressing-women who had been than in th e momin g. This UOT II ,\ J{)IS rri.r ..

operated on in th e hospitals, and permitted to come tim e th ere was no re sistance from th e moth er, she rea 1­
home on con dition that th e d istrict n urse giv e th e nee­ ized what the mornin g tr eatment had done , and deeply
esssa ry care. appreciated it. Now she wanted t o help, so I explai ne d
" It was now 12.30, and I went home to lunch, how sh e could spon ge th e boy during th e ni ght, and
" The first visit in th e af ter noon was to an old 111 a n showed her how to prep ar e th e n ourishmen t. When I
with a. leg ul cer , whi ch is healin g slowly under con­ left her, sh e shook h ands a nd in her broken En gli sh
stan t car e and cleanlin ess. At fir st he did no thin g but said, by way of thanks, 'I lik a y ou too mu ch . ' "
grumbl e and f uss when he canght sight of a nurscs 'I'he averag e for the year is sixty-four visits a da y
each workin g clay of 1908,
Th e follo wing are th e offi cers of th e assoc iat ion ~
Board of D ire ctors: Presid en t. 'Miss Ira ri-iet g , Clarke,
9 Chestnut Street ; Vice-presid ent, Mr s. Edwin Brown.
70 Elm S t reet ; 'I'reasurcr, M 1'8 , H omer Gage, 8 Chest ­
nut S tre et; Clerk, Mr s. Henry J . Gross, 2:1 May Street.
D i r entot-s : :i\fiss Josephine C, Aldrich , )\[rs. Frederi ck
n . Baker, Miss Isabel 1\1. Cromp ton. Mr s. Ed gar A ,
Fi sh er , Mrs , '1'. H ovey Gage, .Ir ., Mr s. David H arrower ,
.Ir., Mrs. Geor ge M, Basse tt, Mrs. Ma tth ew J. Whittall ,
Advisory Board : Rev, B ernard S . Conaty, Mr. Ale x­
ander D e'\V' itt, Dr. Thomas H . Gage, Dr. 'Warren R.
Gilman, Dr. L eonard P. Kinnicutt, Rt. R ev. Al exand er
wxn -rx« FOR THE NU RSE. II , Vinton, Dr. Samu el B. Woodw ard .