7 JUNE 1913, Page 16


[To THE EDITOR Or THE "SPECTATOR."] Sin,—Although you have closed your columns to further correspondence on the question of State Registration of Nurses, perhaps you will allow me to reply to one point in Miss Liickes's letter. She states that " the best way for the public to make sore of obtaining good private nurses is to apply direct to the hospital which trains them. . . ." It no doubt would be excellent for hospitals with private staffs if the public could be induced to believe that only by adopting Miss Lfickes's suggestion could they obtain reliable nurses, for such hospitals make considerable profits—often running into several thousands—from their private nursing staffs ; but it would be scarcely fair to the profession if they could only obtain employment through a middleman who retained the greater part of their profits; nor does it seem quite right that our large voluntary hospitals should be partially maintained by the earnings of one class of underpaid working women. The advantage to the public of such a system is also questionable. The private nursing staffs of hospitals are composed of women whose experience is limited to the wards of their own training school, and many of them have only just completed their training of three years or, in the case of the London, of two years in the wards. No hospital receives every class of case, and nurses trained in general hospitals see no fever or " special " work, no midwifery, and nurse no chronics and few children. Those, moreover, trained in a " medical school" do less practical work than nurses trained in hospitals where there are no medical students to do the dressings and assist doctors and surgeons. No one hospital can therefore provide a training to meet what Miss Llickes calls" the infinite variety of human needs," and the best nurse, from the point of view of the public, is the one who after leaving her training school has obtained a wider and more varied experience in other nursing spheres. A system, there- fore, which eliminated such nurses, or made it more difficult for them to obtain employment, as would be fhe case if the public went straight to hospitals for their nurses, is no more to the public advantage than it is to that of the nursing profession.-1 am, Sir, &c., [We publish Lady Helen Munro-Ferguson's letter as it deals with a side issue, but we must adhere to our decision not to open our columns for the present to a general discussion of this subject.—En. Spectator.]