Page images
PDF
EPUB

pay them.

course.

There can be no scientific treatment of any subject without considering every part and parcel of it. I fully agree with the last speaker, Miss Goodrich, when she speaks of a uniform

I would have a uniform course, as far as possible in the hospitals, and have such uniformity defined and mapped out by this orgnization. It would have influence with every state legislature; it would have influence in all sections of the country. It would tone up the nursing world; it would make legislative bodies more reasonable; it would point out for them what they want, viz., the right thing to do. I believe our state legislatures are struggling to do the right thing; they do not know what to do, and so they make an effort to do something, and often do very extravagant things. I would have the best men and the best women we have, physicians, nurses and laymen, representing the United States and Canada, consider this subject through the whole year and give us the best. That is not contending for two years or three years. My school is a three-year school. I want to say still further, that during the past year my training school committee would probably have changed it to a two-year school, but I did not recommend it because I did not know that it would be wise. I wanted the wisdom of this convention to help me in deciding.

Miss FRANCES LURKIN: I think that personality and tact and adaptability are required more in the nursing profession today than a high school diploma; but you cannot have all these things without a certain amount of education. A diamond is always a diamond, but the more polish it has the higher the price, and if you have a rough diamond in three years you might do better than with a high school diploma and two years.

Layman's View of Hospital Work.

177

A LAYMAN'S VIEW OF HOSPITAL WORK.

By J. Ross ROBERTSON,

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Hospital for

Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.

After a man has followed the printing and newspaper business up and down a rugged pathway of over fifty years, he becomes case-hardened. I hope that my heart is not altogether hard, that my conscience is still tender in spots; but my experience in a printing office has encased my feelings in a rhinoceros hide of indifference to the blunders that attend the preparation of printed matter. The typographical error has lost its power to wound.

Otherwise, I would be overcome by the sight of the magic letters “LL.D.” attached to the name I owe to my good old Scottish father and mother. The program honors me above my merits, and far beyond my desires, when it prolongs the front end of my postoffice address with the letters which signify scholastic rank. I am not a scholar—but a wayfaring man, who has come thus far upon life's journey without acquiring titles of distinction, and who will go to the end of the road without having his name enriched with other adornments than those that it now wears.

I merely mention this error, so that those of you who have been lured here in the hope of listening to an "LL.D.” might understand that I am not an LL.D., or any other kind of doctor, but simply a layman who does not wish to sail under false colors.

LAYMEN AND THEIR FADS.

To make this paper of mine acceptable and interesting to you men and women, who, day in and day out, year after year, are devoting your lives to the care of those who, stricken with sickness, lie in the beds and cots of hospitals of this western sphere-has given me more thought than any paper I have ever tried to prepare for any association that I have ever been connected with.

Brevity of speech is one of the verbal virtues, and there is no reason why that self-same virtue should not be displayed in the preparation of a paper that proposes to give you "A Layman's View of Hospital Work."

This suggestion is pertinent, for I would not have you think that you are to be wearied with a long story, and yet I shall try to interest you.

It occurs to me that the handling of this subject could have been made much more attractive to you, if the pen had been in the hand of some other narrator, whose experience was more varied, and who in his knowledge of detail might stand a closer cross-examination than I can with my limited knowledge.

Thousands of laymen in business vocations all over the world have side lines of activity that afford them relaxation and pleasure. Some indulge in agriculture, and a model farm and a prize herd of Jerseys is the goal of their ambition. Others write books, and our American friend, Carnegie, has produced most readable volumes. Not a few delight to follow the drumbeat of the militia, while many are fond of art, bric-a-brac, china and old brass. A host indulge in politics, and a select and happy few of that galaxy become statesmen. An odd one here and there tries his luck in the pulpit, while an army are to be found in the battalions who do good work as class leaders in the churches that owe their origin to the inspiration of good old John Wesley. Last, but not least, is the phalanx of laymen who shut not their purse strings, but try the luxury of doing good, who found, who build and who take part in the management of the great houses of God's mercy—the hospitals, large and small, for adults and for children, that are planted all over this continent,

WHY SHOULD LAYMEN BE INTERESTED?

For the past thirty years I have been interested, more or less—more, generally-in hospital work, and I am bound to say that, other than the work of running a daily newspaper with its constitutional and chronic worries that are sometimes accentuated with visits from the process server with writs for libel, hospital work gets closer to any human side, and affords me more pleasure, even if the bank balance does shrink, than any other form of relaxation I have been able to select.

Some people may ask why should a layman be interested in hospital work. One need not go far afield for an answer. It's a humane work—a work of charity, a work that commends itself to what is best in human nature.

THE WAY TO GAIN INFORMATION.

During the past thirty years I have every year visited Great Britain and the continent of Europe, and nearly every state of the American Union. During these, visits, interested as I am in hospital work in this city of my birth, I naturally felt interested in this work in other cities.

My visits were not inspired by curiosity. My idea was to gather knowledge, so that the particular class of work which I had at heart might be benefited.

When I tell you that these visits covered not only close inspection of the work, but heart to heart talks with the Superintendents, Lady Superintendents and Matrons of all the principal hospitals for adults in large cities of Europe, Great Britain and Ireland and the United States, and in every Hospital for Sick Children in the same area, I think you will admit that my mileage ought to have been given me—an experience in the line of information-getting that should have availed to advantage to the institution that I am connected with, and so it did.

I of course took it for granted that in all these great hospitals good work was being done in the surgical and medical departments by the skilled men who were in charge. Of surgery and medicine I know nothing, and this paper concerns only the business end of the work that is in your care and mine.

THE MUNIFICENCE OF LAYMEN.

It struck me during my tours that in Great Britain, Ireland and the United States and Canada, the layman plays a most important part.

The largest and best hospitals in Great Britain owe their foundation and construction to the energy, enterprise and philanthropy of laymen-investments that total up millions and millions of pounds in sterling money, either left by bequest or paid during the lifetime for palatial edifices to shelter the sick and afflicted-all from the pockets of laymen.

MAINTENANCE OF HOSPITALS.

Hospitals may be dependent for support in part from governments and from municipalities, or from voluntary contributions, but in the final analysis the layman pays the bill, and be it said, as a general rule he does it ungrudgingly.

Hospital construction and reconstruction is going on all over the British empire, its colonies and in the United States of America. These buildings are constructed largely by the contributions of laymen.

Hospitals have to be maintained. It is a comparatively easy matter to build a hospital. The maintenance is a horse of another color. Appeals have to be made to the public. The Provincial Governments in Canada do their share, and pay a per capita per day rate, and so do some of the corporations that govern cities, but the deficits—and deficits are inevitable-have to be made up by the layman.

There are various phases of the hospital problem that appeal directly to laymen, and it is a pleasure to see the faithful work of business men who, even if they are a bit short in the line of this world's goods, are long in the line of giving attention to hospital work.

MANAGEMENT OF HOSPITALS.

The management of hospitals, and how ot make such management effective, is a problem that has in a way yet to be solved.

« PreviousContinue »