Duties of the Head Nurse 1901


The Duties of the head Nurse 1901

Excerpts from  McMillan, Helena The Duties of the Head Nurse. AJN The American Journal of Nursing. 1(9):640-643, June 1901.  

“In our modern hospitals the demands made upon the head nurse of a department are numerous indeed, and the woman who holds that position must be gifted with patience and trained not only nursing, but in other sciences .” …

She must be skilled in the knowledge of housekeeping knowing to a nicety the amount of milk, tea, butter or sugar to give the individual patient at each meal; the particular polish to be used in the cleaning of silver, copper or brass, and the way each should be applied; the most approved style of cutting garments for men, women, and children in hospital wards; the newest method of preparing and serving each article of diet, with all the other details of keeping house.

Each head nurse is responsible to the head of the nursing department for the good nursing of the patients and for general management of the ward or other department, including the housekeeping and cleanliness, the supervision and direction of maids and orderlies, the conduct, good work and training of the pupils, the work and deportment of nurses on special duty, and in fact, of everybody and everything which may be concerned in the every-day work of the department.

In addition to these and many other tasks, she must have the art of imparting that knowledge to others, of making others as skilled as herself. A large part of the practical training of the pupil devolves upon the head nurse of a hospital….This work of training and teaching the pupil nurse in her department  is as much a part of the head nurse’s duties as the care of the patients , the carrying out of the doctor’s orders , and many other details of work.”

Davida MichaelsComment