The question of the adaptability or suitability of the method of female nursing of male patients in asylums, which is the all but universal practice in general hospitals, if not exactly what might be termed a “burning” question, has been forced into unexpected prominence during the present crisis of affairs. The military and naval requirements of a great country fighting not merely for a great ideal, but for, if perhaps the less noble, certainly the more urgent and so to say personal object of maintaining its own existence, necessitated the raising—and at very short notice—of our two great services to their maximum strength, and, therefore, a demand on the male population of the British Empire of such magnitude as has never been experienced before. This demand has, as we know, been promptly and liberally responded to, and by no class of men perhaps more readily than those serving on an asylum staff, over 3,000 of whom, as shown in the Journal of October last, have joined the colours. Such a drain on the at no time very ample nursing resources of these institutions could not fail to cause very serious inconvenience. The shortage occasioned had in some way or other to be compensated for, if even to only a limited extent. In some cases men of mature age have been employed to replace those who have left, but these are probably not procurable in any great numbers owing to the demand for middle-aged men for munitions and other work connected with the war, and also for doing the enormous amount of business—trade, agriculture, etc.—which must be carried on throughout the country generally. Consequently, resort to the employment of women as substitutes for male nurses has had in many instances to be adopted.
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