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Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

First, let’s talk about Clara Barton.

There are certain books we read as children that leave an indelible impression. For me, one of those books was Clara Barton, Girl Nurse. During this pandemic, as we have all become more aware than ever of how special and crucial nurses are, this very special woman’s story came back to me.

So who is Clara Barton, and why is she special?

Born Clarissa Harlowe Barton, the list of her accomplishments is long, but the most notable is as the founder of The American Red Cross.

Clara lived from 1821 to 1912. She attended boarding school where she extremely timid and shy and became so lonely and depressed she was brought back home. Always anxious to help, she found herself at a loss and didn’t want to burden her family. Hoping to help Clara overcome her timidity, her parents suggested she become a schoolteacher. She acquired her teaching certificate in 1839 at the age of seventeen. And from there, she began to blossom. Continuing her education, Clara soon became so well written that her body of work could instruct statesman of the time. She moved to Washington D.C. and in 1855 had a clerkship in the U.S. Patent Office making the same salary as men. This was unheard of at the time, and she suffered much abuse from her male counterparts for the three years she was there.

In 1861 the Baltimore Riot resulted in the first bloodshed of the Civil War. When forty wounded men from the Massachusetts regiment were brought to Washington D.C., Barton was there to meet and nurse them. That was the beginning of her dedication to army work as she dedicated herself to supplying food, clothing, and other supplies to the wounded soldiers. She also provided emotional support to lift their spirits by talking with and reading to them as well as writing letters to their families. Clara Barton became known as the Florence Nightingale of America as well as the “Angel of the Battlefield” since she spent time on the frontlines tending the wounded.  Probably what she is most remembered for though is founding the American Red Cross.

medical-sister-1780698_960_720

Next, let’s talk a little about Florence Nightingale.

A contemporary of Clara Barton’s, born in 1820, Florence Nightingale knew by eighteen how she wanted to spend her life as she felt called on by God to dedicate her life to the service of others. Her high-class British family was not at all happy about this, but despite their outrage, by 1844 she’d made up her mind to become a nurse.  She and the nurses she’d trained, tended wounded soldiers in the Crimean War. It was said in The Times that “When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds.“ Nightingale became known as the lady with the lamp and an angel of mercy.

illustration-of-florence-nightingale-holding-lamp

Lady with the Lamp

Perhaps the most important contribution Florence Nightingale made to society was to declare hospitals must not be a place where people get more sick. She knew they must be designed to provide safe conditions and filled with well trained nurses to care for the sick and injured.

Finally, let’s talk about Darleen Muhly.

What? You’ve never heard of her? Well, that’s probably because she is not one of the twenty-five most famous nurses nor is she known for some particular contribution to medicine. No, I’ve chosen Darleen Muhly to represent all the wonderful nurses who quietly go about healing and caring for their patients without any special recognition. This nurse, who also happens to be my wonderful sister, spent much of her nursing career in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) caring for the most vulnerable little humans born a little too soon. She may not be known to many, but I know without a doubt there are many, many parents of those once fragile little ones who are forever grateful to her and others like her.

Is there a special nurse in your family or one who holds a special place in your heart for the care they give? I’d love to hear about them.

520MouseccGloria

 

 

 

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