My object in this paper is to give a brief note of a trial which has recently been made in the Fife Asylum, in the way of introducing female nursing in the male sick-room. Nursing is peculiarly woman's province; and it has, I believe, often been felt that it would be a great advantage if female care could be more freely utilised in the management of male insane patients, or at least of those of them who are suffering from special bodily disease in addition to the mental symptoms. The main objections to the step have hitherto been: (1) that some of the habits and peculiarities of the male insane may make it unfit or undesirable to have them under female care; and (2) that in many asylums the structural arrangement makes it difficult or impossible to bring the male sick-room under systematic supervision by the female staff. Lately it was necessary to build a large addition to the Fife Asylum; and advantage was taken of this opportunity to get rid of the second objection mentioned. The new building is a hospital block, and is intended to receive recent admissions, cases requiring special observation on account of their mental state, and cases of bodily illness. Each side (male and female) is divided into three sections: 1st, sickroom proper (for cases of bodily illness); 2nd, special observation ward (intended for new cases, and cases needing continuous supervision on account of suicidal or other dangerous tendency); and 3rd, general observation ward. There are the usual dining-hall, kitchen, and administrative rooms in the centre of the building. The male and female sick-rooms are placed next to the administrative portion, one on each side; and as the doors here are unlocked during the day, with free communication by the corridor, the male sick-room is easily reached from the female side, and is administered by the matron, the head nurse (who has charge of both sick-rooms), and two junior nurses. Each sick-room communicates with a special observation dormitory, beyond which again is the special observation day-room. This dormitory is empty during the day, but receives at night the cases which require continuous supervision on account of suicidal tendency, and which come to it direct from the special observation day-room. On the male side the door between the sick-room and the observation dormitory is kept locked during the day; and there is thus no direct communication between the sick-room and those parts of the male side which are under the charge of attendants, except by the general corridor. When the Medical Officer makes the evening visit, this door is unlocked, and the sick-room and observation dormitory are thrown into one and come under the charge of a male attendant, who is on duty during the whole night, while the nurses return to the female side of the building. This plan was followed because our numbers are too small to require separate attendance in the two rooms; and in this way the sick-room is under female care during the day, but is supervised at night by the male staff.∗
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.