It is original history that holds lessons for nurses today.What is it that we learn from the women, whose stories are within this book?
I think it’s mainly this: “Do not let your personal limitations stop you from doing the good that you see to do in the world.”
This book contains the previously untold story of how a remarkable set of lay and professional nurses shaped Church of Christ (COC) missions in southeastern Nigeria. No archive of their work existed, and I enjoyed the privilege of compiling the story from the memories, bags, basements, and boxes of the women who lived this story and those who knew them. The book was 10 years in the making.
These women’s decisions and actions occurred within a broader shift of COC perspectives away from missionary healthcare as incidental volunteer women’s work, and toward healthcare missions as a Christian duty. For each being a missionary nurse meant delivering healthcare as part of Christian evangelism. To that end they executed multiple roles: healer, educator, revolutionary, advocate, good-will ambassador, protector, administrator, evangelist, role model, fund-raiser, friend, and colleague. We did “everything that needed to be done that there was nobody to do,” reflected missionary Nancy Petty RN.
Enjoy the read, and pursue the good that you can do in this world.
[Featured image: August 23, 1965. The Nigerian Christian Hospital Outpatient Clinic opens. Photographer JR Morgan. Used with permission from JRM private collection]
You can be a part of documenting such stories, including your own. Can I pique your interest with these examples about historical research?
1. Artifacts:Example = http://acif.org/The American Collectors of Infant Feeders:
The American Collectors of Infant Feeders is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to gather and publish information pertaining to the feeding of infants throughout history. The collecting of infant feeders and related items is promoted.
2. Interviews:Example = http://www.oralhistory.org/ Want to do interviews of interesting faculty, students, leaders, “ordinary” nurses? Check out the Oral History Association In addition to fostering communication among its members, the OHA encourages standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, dissemination and uses of oral testimony.
3. Stories from the “ordinary:” Example: http://www.murphsplace.com/mother/main.htmlMy Mother’s War – “Helen T.Burrey was an American nurse who served as a Red Cross Nurse during World War I. She documented her experience in both a journal and a scrapbook which has been treasured by her daughter, Mary Murphy. Ms Murphy has placed many of these items on the Internet for people to access and it provides a first-hand account of that experience. Additionally she has a variety of links to other WWI resources.” (quoted from AAHN Resources online)
4. Ethnic studies:Example=https://libguides.rowan.edu/blacknurses Black Nurses in History “This is a ‘bibliography and guide to web resources’ from the UMDNJ and Coriell Research Library. Included are Mamie O. Hail, Mary Eliza Mahoney, Jessie Sleet Scales, Mary Seacole, Mabel Keaton Staupers, Susie King Taylor, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman.” (quoted from AAHN Resources online)
Critical thinking: Don’t forget to save your own materials. Your life is history! What in your life is most interesting? Have you written it down or dictated it into your iphone voice memo? There is GREAT interest in “ordinary” men and women. Many times items are tossed because they are “just letters” or “only old records,” or “stuff.” Just Don’t Do It.