PREPARATIONS FOR CONFINEMENT.
The selection of a nurse should not be left to a late stage of pregnancy. As soon as a woman knows or believes herself to be pregnant she should take steps to secure a properly trained nurse.
In these days there is no difficulty in secur ing a good nurse, as the most of them hold certificates of having received training. On the whole a nurse is to be preferred who is con nected with some nursing institution, because there is thus some guarantee of her character and qualification, apart from her certificate.
Many first-class nurses, however, after a period of connection with an institution, look forward to become private nurses. Their record ought to enable one to judge of their ability.
A young and active woman is to be preferred to the stout and elderly person, who is apt to be always airing her experience. The writer has always a doubt of the nurse who comes with a large statement of her wide experience. If a doctor is to be in attendance, the nurse's experience is not required ; what is required is that she be scrupulously cleanly and tidy; that she be active, accurate, and punctual in her duty, moving about quietly and without fuss; that she carries out her instructions intelli gently, and is able to make a reliable report to the doctor of the condition of her charge.
The nurse should be able to take charge of the patient's room, keep it tidy, and attend to its heating and ventilation, from the time her duties have really begun by the occurrence of labour.
The cleanliness and tidiness of the mother's bed and the mother's person are her business also.
She brings the mother her meals, and fre quently, when the meals are such simple things as hot milk, gruel, &c., she prepares them also.
She has sole charge of the infant, its bathing and clothing, its feeding, its carrying out, and its bed. All the utensils needed for the lying in room—urinal, bed-pan, washing-basin and washing materials, diapers, napkins, &c.—she is responsible for.
In a house of some size, where there are servants, and specially where there are several servants; much of the real manual work will be done for her by one or other of the servants. Thus the mother's meals would be brought, properly arranged on a tray, by a housemaid, and handed over to the nurse; the washing of utensils, napkins, &c., would be done by an under maid, and so on. But the fit nurse is able to do all these things, if the need arises, and is personally responsible to the doctor for them all being properly done. Most doctors will admit that the best nurses they have had have been seen in working-men's houses, have been able to do all things necessary for the patient with their own bands, and have been willing to do it, when the necessity exists.
But the nurse is never to be put on the same footing as an ordinary servant. While a good nurse will only show her fitness, when in a small house with little help, by doing many things not strictly within her province, in a larger house, with plenty of help, her superior position must he recognized from the outset. It is one of the features of a really good nurse that no difficulty arises between her and the servants of the household, and that she is able to get everything done that is proper without friction or murmuring. The nurse, wherever possible, should sleep in a room opening off the patient's; she should not be expected to take her meals with the servants, they should be served to her apart.
When it is necessary for her to sleep in the same room as the patient, it should never be in the same bed. An arrangement ought always to be made to permit the nurse to be off duty for one or two hours daily, to permit her getting fresh air and a respite from work.
No good nurse will ever talk about her experiences to her patient, or relate tales of distress and difficulty.
No good nurse will pit her experience and knowledge against that of the doctor.