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The Nurse's Secret


A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's ...
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What fascinated you the most about medical treatment in the Gilded Age?

Created: 03/02/23

Replies: 11

Posted Mar. 02, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

What fascinated you the most about medical treatment in the Gilded Age?

What fascinated you the most about medical treatment in the Gilded Age?


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 165

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I appreciated the strict cleaning processes. I was surprised to learn this.

If you enjoyed this book, you might like The Girl in His Shadow by Nora Beady. It takes place when anesthesia is just being discovered, and the female main character is fantastic!


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 59

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I was so surprised by the efforts to keep everything clean and keep the air circulating - and then to still be bleeding patients! It seemed like one step forward and two steps back. I also thought that the use of ether didn't happen until later as well. Lots of fun facts to learn.


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 438

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I was very surprised that the primary responsibilities of the first year nursing students were dusting and general cleaning. I don’t consider those to be “professional” skills, and I definitely see nurses as competent professionals-even as students. I also thought that using leeches was more of a home remedy-or a practice reserved for rural areas and was surprised that leeches were used in the hospital. I was fascinated by how ether was administered, making cones from towels. Actually, I think this is the first book I’ve read that deals with the practice of medecine in a hospital at this time period. I always thought hand washing was a given and was shocked by the cavalier attitude of Dr. Pingry and how he touched injuries both without washing and without wearing gloves. It is kind of a miracle that we survived some of the medical practices in order to improve them.


Posted Mar. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 236

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I was surprised that emphasis was to keep everything clean including the air and even more so that the first year nurse trainees were the ones responsible for this as part of their training. In addition some of curing techniques such as leeches and how ether was administered were surprising.


Posted Mar. 07, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 271

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I know the idea of bleeding was the cure-all back then, but I find it interesting that it is making a comeback in certain circumstances! As is cupping. I was pleased to read about the cleanliness concerns as I have read too many novels where the idea of sterility was considered a joke. There was still a ways to go, but I'm sure many lives were saved by the standards that were implemented


Posted Mar. 07, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lolo

Join Date: 03/02/23

Posts: 5

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

Seeing a Edwin trying to get an arrogant older doctor to change his hygiene approach to patients was interesting and having to listen to an older doctor who didn’t want change especially when it came to cleanliness, disinfecting a wound, even something as simple as washing his hands must have been frustrating especially when it would have saved lives.


Posted Mar. 07, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lloyden

Join Date: 07/17/19

Posts: 18

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

The great emphasis on cleanliness and germ containment was of interest to me. As anesthesia had just been introduced to medical practices in the Civil War many new techniques were moving quickly along with the need for improved sanitation that produced much more positive results than could be dreamed or imagined.

I still think that those of wealth had much great medical opportunities for regaining health and living through surgery than the middle class working families, practices were changing for the better.


Posted Mar. 08, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Kari J

Join Date: 09/21/21

Posts: 22

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I was a paramedic in the Navy and I have always been kind of 'weirded-out' by the idea of using leaches - YUCK!


Posted Mar. 08, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gwenc

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 94

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I think I was most surprised about the sheer amount of drudgery each nurse had to do (dusting, cleaning everything, rinsing bedpans, cleaning up vomit, shaking blankets to get rid of lice, etc.) The actual nursing was just a small percentage of each shift.


Posted Mar. 18, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 271

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I was fascinated that the sterile methods of Lister were just coming into use, and that even those who did not yet embrace those ideas still paid attention to keeping things clean in so far as it was possible. Although I knew that leeches were still used medically in the Gilded Age, I was interested in reading about just how they were used. The prevalence of lice (need to shake blankets to get rid of them) was something I should have known but didn't fully realize.


Posted Mar. 18, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sylviala

Join Date: 09/20/21

Posts: 29

RE: What fascinated you the most about ...

I was surprised Bellevue Hospital had 1000 applicants for the nurse training program and only a few were accepted. I hadn't thought about having ambulances lined up ready to dispatch for an emergency call. Since Lister had already discovered the need for cleanliness to combat germs, I was surprised that the older Dr.Pingry did not follow Lister's guidelines for handwashing and cleansing of wounds. The younger doctors were more willing to accept new breakthroughs.


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