Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nursing by Leg Power

Here's the next post from Rebecca...

As I dig deeper into the agency’s history I am finding more and more information on the partnership between the VNAB and Simmons College. The two started cooperating in 1912 to offer academic coursework specifically for Public Health nurses. Simmons’ Department of Public Health Nursing was established in 1916 under the direction of Anne Hervey Strong, and in 1918 a full-fledged School of Public Health Nursing was created and run jointly by the Instructive District Nurse Association (known today as the VNA of Boston) and Simmons College.

This week, I would once again like to share something I found in the Simmons archive with much appreciation to an author from the past. The article, entitled Nursing by Leg Power (see below - apologies that it's a bit hard to read; if you click on the graphic, it will open in another window and may be easier to read) by Dorothy Deming, was published in November of 1929 in a journal titled The Survey. The Survey started as an in-house publication of the New York Charity Organization Society in 1902 and under the editorial direction of Paul U. Kellogg it became the “most eloquent and revered voice of the social justice wing of the twentieth-century American reform movement“until it ceased publication in 1952. (See note.)

I immediately liked the article as it is quite humorous. The author also artfully weaves in a wealth of information about what a Public Health Nurse is, what she does, how she is trained and the nuts and bolts of her vocation. Again, it is interesting to note the similarities with today’s visiting nurse experience…the challenge of defining exactly what a visiting nurse is, the diversity of cases seen, the complications of reimbursement, the extent to which education needs to be tailored for the visiting nurse and of course the uniform… just kidding! (I’m not so sure about the illustration comparing a visiting nurse to a mother monkey… but I guess in 1929, evolution was still a somewhat radical concept!)...

From a review of the book “Paul U. Kellogg and the Survey: Voices for Social Welfare and Social Justice by Clarke A. Chambers, University of Minnesota Press, 1971, review by Robert H. Bremner

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