The civilian hospitals
in Beyond Nightingale
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The British government established two hospitals in Turkey, in Smyrna and Renkioi. Civilian, rather than army doctors directed the hospitals and the nursing. The doctors ran the hospitals on the model of the civilian hospitals they had worked in at home. Two secular ladies, Henrietta LeMesurier at Smyrna and Maria Parkes at Renkioi, neither of whom had any experience in clinical nursing, became outstanding lady superintendents. Both did extremely well, with a good deal less firing of nurses compared to Nightingale and her lady superintendents. The Smyrna hospital was housed in a dilapidated building very similar to the Barrack Hospital but the Renkioi hospital was purpose-built, designed by Isambard Brunel, and incorporated all the latest features that the sanitarians demanded. In the Renkioi hospital, with the exception of Lady Superintendent Maria Parkes who was the sister of the director of the hospital, the lady nurses were paid. Ladies were no longer volunteering unless they were paid, a major shift in the Victorian concept of the domestic sphere. At the same time the doctors’ belief in women’s mission impeded innovation in nursing in these hospitals.

Beyond Nightingale

Nursing on the Crimean War battlefields

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