True nursing ignores infection, except to prevent it. Cleanliness and fresh air from open windows, with unremitting attention to the patient, are the only defence a true nurse either asks or needs.
Wise and humane management of the patient is the best safeguard against infection.
[Sidenote: Why must children have measles, &c.?]
There are not a few popular opinions, in regard to which it is useful at times to ask a question or two. For example, it is commonly thought that children must have what are commonly called “children’s epidemics,” “current contagions,” &c., in other words, that they are born to have measles, hooping-cough, perhaps even scarlet fever, just as they are born to cut their teeth, if they live.
Now, do tell us, why must a child have measles?
Oh because, you say, we cannot keep it from infection—other children have measles—and it must take them—and it is safer that it should.
But why must other children have measles? And if they have, why must yours have them too?
If you believed in and observed the laws for preserving the health of houses which inculcate cleanliness, ventilation, white-washing, and other means, and which, by the way, are laws, as implicitly as you believe in the popular opinion, for it is nothing more than an opinion, that your child must have children’s epidemics, don’t you think that upon the whole your child would be more likely to escape altogether?
III. PETTY MANAGEMENT.
[Sidenote: Petty management.]
All the results of good nursing, as detailed in these notes, may be spoiled or utterly negatived by one defect, viz.: in petty management, or, in other words, by not knowing how to manage that what you do when you are there, shall be done when you are not there. The most devoted friend or nurse cannot be always there. Nor is it desirable that she should. And she may give up her health, all her other duties, and yet, for want of a little management, be not one-half so efficient as another who is not one-half so devoted, but who has this art of multiplying herself—that is to say, the patient of the first will not really be so well cared for, as the patient of the second.