Nurse, a woman who professes to rear young children, or to attend sick persons.
The duties incumbent on nurses, whether intended for the management of infants, or of patients, are equally important. Hence the utmost precaution is requisite to select such as are cleanly, in good health., and uncontaminated by any latent disease, especially if they be destined to suckle children : for. it is a melancholy truth, that the hopes of many families have sunk into an early grave, after they had intrused their offspring to nurses, who were tainted with the scurvy, or other fatal disorder. Such vigi lance, therefore, ought not to be relaxed, even though proper persons have been procured ; because there are many, who, from selfish and superstitious motives, will not hesitate, to use the most hurtful ids of lulling the child to sleep thus, the innocent babe is early inured to the taste of spirits, which it retains even at a maturer acre, and insensibly becomes the most detestable of characters, a drunk-ord. To prevent these and similar abuses, we would seriously advise all parents to visit their children, not merely on Sundays, but as often as their time will permit on other days of the week; as these unexpected talis will enable them easily to ascertain, either the propriety, or mal-practices, in the conduct of those persons to whom they may have committed the care of their children.
with respect to sick-nurses, we cannot omit to observe, that they ought to be cleanly, and warmly clad. If they are obliged to attend their patients during the night, it would be advisable (especially in dangerous Cases, and where the expences can be afforded) always to employ two nurses, so that the one may relieve the other ; and the afflicted may receive that prompt attention, which many of those mercenary hirelings unwillingly bestow. Indolence and slight, however, are not the only evils, to which the unresisting patient is of ten doomed to submit. During the destructive plague, which depopulated this metropolis in the reign of Charles II. the. merciless mis creants who had the charge of the infected, not only plundered them while expiring, but even terminated their existence by violence, and had the audacity to attribute their decease to the malignance of the distemper!
The mind shudders with horror at the recollection of such atrocious crimes, and is tempted to hope, for the sake of humanity, that such outcasts of society no longer exist. But, alas ! instances have repeat-edly and lately occurred, in which the cap has been removed, and a better one substituted; nay, the rings were torn out of the patient's ears , while in the agonies of death ; The finest linen has been found on the bed, damp and un-aired, being the nurse's perquisite, when her hapless victim is no more ; and other cruelties have been committed, the enumeration Of which would shock the feelings of the most phlegmatic reader.
Although it is painful to record atrocities which degrade human nature, yet they cannot be too generally known, that all persons may be rendered vigilant in the se, lection of those who are appointed to attend the sick. It is not, however, our intention to insinuate, that all nurses are thus depraved. There may, doubtiess, be found persons whose humanity and attention to the diseased, render them worthy of the greatest commendation ; but the safely and welfare of society seems to require, that proper measures be taken, to prevent the repetition of such enormities for the future: and we trust, that considerable benefit would result from an institution, the object of which should be the appointment of proper nurses ; so that none be permitted to perform that important office, unless provided with a certificate, signed by three or more medical practitioners.