By Dianne Dodd, Deborah Gorham
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Extra info for Caring and Curing: Historical Perspectives on Women and Healing in Canada
The latter would be prepared by "those in charge of the home," a Board of Women. While the skill of trained nurses was clearly acknowledged in this scheme, their authority as "woman workers" was not. The hierarchical relationship foreseen by Tilley between the home's female board of management and its nursing staff privileged the "efficiency" of organized middle-class women, not that of their paid agent, the trained middle-class nurse. A second, less efficient, but also less expensive scheme would establish a diet and medical dispensary, along with a central information bureau for "women who are willing and able to nurse" among the sick poor.
The work of district nursing, she contended, required more than mere skill. Echoing the views of Florence Nightingale and other prominent champions of district nursing, Livingston wrote: "It should not only be the trained applicant but the exceptional woman who should be chosen to serve in the highest of all service, that of God's poor. "64 Propelled by the objections of medical practitioners, and by the competing reform agendas of the elite businessmen, civil servants, politicians, and clergymen whom she had recruited to shepherd the foundation of the Victorian Order of Home Helpers, Lady Aberdeen accepted that the Home Helper organization must be reconstituted as the Victorian Order of Nurses and only fully trained hospital nurses be employed.
33 But for evangelical women like Tilley, the skill or proficiency of the women who volunteered to nurse the poor was not the principal concern. It was hoped that nursing the poor in their own homes would offer them spiritual solace as well as physical relief. Caring for both "the souls and bodies of our fellow creatures" was, Tilley informed the Council, the singular purpose of the Order. Tilley described for her audience the steps taken by London-area "circles" of the King's Daughters to meet the medical needs of their less fortunate neighbours.
Caring and Curing: Historical Perspectives on Women and Healing in Canada by Dianne Dodd, Deborah Gorham