|The Nightingale Society|
Report from Lynn McDonald, co-founder, 29 August 2017
Nightingale Society 2018 Meeting!
Plan ahead! Put it in your book. The Nightingale Society will be meeting in London Monday March 12 at 11:00 a.m. at a venue to be determined (I hope the Royal Statistical Society, as before, but if not there, somewhere). Keep the evening free if possible: there will be a dinner for all who can attend to carry on in a more leisurely way.
The timing is to take advantage of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Association meeting March 10-11 in London. That organization’s meetings in 2016 included a number of people interest in Nightingale who joined us in the Nightingale Society.
More Errors on Seacole in Nursing Books
The Nightingale Society wrote in 2016 wrote the publisher and editor of a major American nursing book, Cherry and Jacob’s Contemporary Nursing: Issues, Trends and Management. We outlined the errors made, with full references. We hoped that the authors/editors/publisher would make the needed corrections (many corrections, a serious re-write) for the planned 2017 edition.
That 2017 edition has since come out, with the errors sill there! There are minor editorial changes, but the serious errors remain. Strangely, a new author for the article is listed, co-editor Susan R. Jacob, which makes one wonder who wrote the original one? Herewith some of the (many) errors:
- “Seacole learned of the Crimean War and wrote to the British government requesting to join Nightingale’s group of nurses.”
- Not according to Seacole’s own account.
- “However, she was denied the right to join because she was black. She was confused about this denial because many of the British soldiers had lived in Jamaica, where she had already provided health care to them.”
- But Seacole’s lodging house in Jamaica was for officers, not soldiers, who were stationed in barracks, and who could not have afforded her prices.
- “Seacole had previously served as a nurse in Cuba and Panama during the yellow fever and cholera epidemics.”
- According to her own account, she visited Cuba, but never nursed there. She described giving care dying victims of yellow fever in Jamaica, but not being able to save them.
- “She provided a letter of introduction to Nightingale, which was blocked because Seacole was black, even though she had been trained by British army physicians.”
- Yet Seacole never claimed to have been “trained by British army physicians,” although she knew many who were customers at her business. According to her account, when she presented a letter to Nightingale, it was while she was en route to Balaclava to open her business. She never asked Nightingale for a job!
- According to Seacole’s Wonderful Adventures, Nightingale read her letter and spoke to her in a friendly manner: “What do you want, Mrs Seacole—anything that we can do for you? If it lies in my power, I shall be very happy” (p 91, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands).
- Where is the block?
The article also gives much credit to Nightingale, but gets the facts wrong there, too! For example, Nightingale is credited with training nurses during the Crimean War, which she did not. What she did during the war was significant, but it was, as well as bedside nursing, clean up, establishing laundries and kitchens, getting the environmental conditions right to facilitate healing.
Any ideas of how to get through to these authors? Is anyone a history teacher? Or willing to help in contacting history teachers on the (accurate) record on Seacole and Nightingale?