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This October 1929 issue of the Alumnae Nightingale was donated to the School of Nursing by Julia Kyle of Atlanta. The volume belonged to her late mother-in-law, Mary Pugh Elliott Kyle, a 1912 graduate of Wesley Memorial.


 

 

A Nightingale Takes Flight
Nurses launch 1929 alumni publication

This is the first in a series of historical snapshots as the School of Nursing prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2005.

Long before Emory Nursing magazine, there was the Alumnae Nightingale. The publication first took flight in 1929, piloted by graduates of Wesley Memorial Hospital’s Training School for Nurses. Originally located in the Calico House in downtown Atlanta, the hospital and school moved to the Emory campus after Emory University Hospital was completed in 1922. The school then became the Emory Hospital School of Nursing.

In the October 1929 Alumnae Nightingale, editor Minnie B. Bass, (a 1923 Wesley Memorial graduate) and her staff published “To the Nightingale,” an ode to the publication by Lucille Jones (a 1931 Wesley Memorial graduate), and an article on “Cultivation of a Bedside Manner,” in which author and Emory physician Calhoun McDougall stated that “a good and efficient nurse is one of the noblest of God’s creations, and in some cases is more valuable than a good doctor.”

The issue also offered differing views of Army nursing in wartime and peacetime. In 1917, Ella M. Brown Britton reported for nursing duty during World War I, three years after graduating from Wesley Memorial. “My first night in the Army will ever be a nightmare to me,” she wrote of her stint in the base hospital at Camp Wheeler, Georgia. “Things were not very well organized then, as the hospital had just opened a short time. Some few of the patients were convalescent, but most of them had pneumonia following measles and flu, while there were a number of cases of mumps and a few of meningitis. A severe electrical storm had cut off the lights, and I had to prepare a spinal puncture tray by the light of a lantern, sterilize my syringes, needles, etc., on a little old-fashioned oil stove—and to cap the climax, I broke the 500 cc. syringe. While I was at midnight supper, one of my pneumonia patients with temperature of 105 degrees, in his delirium, walked across the square to the ward from which he had just been transferred. Three pneumonia patients died during the night. Then to make my first night complete, I got the thermometers mixed on the wards for which I received a genuine Army bawling out.”

Britton eventually was assigned to the eye, ear, nose, and throat ward and then was shipped to France in the summer of 1918. She first was stationed near Argonne, site of one of the war’s worst battles, and then at a clinic where she worked with Dr. McDougall, a member of the Emory Medical Unit. As Britton wrote, “It seems to me that ‘we’ took out the tonsils of the entire United States Army. After the clinic was closed, I spent the rest of my service in the operating room, but the work there was mostly surgical dressings; I did 125 one morning.”

For Pat Fulwood, a 1924 Wesley Memorial graduate stationed at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Army nursing during peacetime was just as tumultuous. In the course of one week, she tended two reckless prisoners injured by exploding shrapnel (one lost an arm), a fussy captain with a tonsilar abscess, a new mother and baby, a mental patient who attacked the ward master with a razor, and two malaria patients. She also had to contend with a young private who informed her he would not take orders from a nurse and a smiling commanding officer who observed that “things seem to be pretty quiet.”

Despite the chaos, Fulwood found her work agreeable most of the time. Her colleagues were congenial, the soldiers easier to nurse than most civilians, and the doctors, with one or two exceptions, were considerate and pleasant. She concluded, “On the whole, to quote the prisoner who lost his arm, ‘The Army ain’t so bad.’ ”

 

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