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  • F. M. Cowan

An important event in the year has been the meeting of an International Congress for Criminal Anthropology at Amsterdam. I leave the various discussions and papers to be dealt with in another part of this Journal. It is generally admitted that an efficient staff of attendants and nurses is indispensable in the treatment and care of the insane. This important point has been the subject of an exhaustive and lengthy report in our Journal. A number of questions were drawn up and sent to the medical superintendents of several asylums, and the answers received were cast into a very interesting report in which we find a large number of data relating to the training of attendants, their pay, leave of absence, amusements, working hours, board and lodging, etc. The conclusion drawn by the writer of the report is that very great progress has been made; “contrary to what occurred nine years ago, the care for the insane is now everywhere entrusted to a staff well trained for their task, or at least in receipt of thorough training for their onerous duties.” I can hardly believe that these words of the writer will be generally accepted. Undoubtedly great progress has been made, but there is still room for much improvement. The maid-of-all-work, who dons the dress of a nurse and is henceforth styled “Sister Sarah,” does not at the same time acquire the amount of knowledge and training required in a nurse; you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and in a large number of cases the sow's bristles show through the silk envelope.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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  • F. M. Cowan
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