ExhibitionNursing and Respectability: Nursing Around the World
Missionary nurses established rural clinics, hospitals and schools of nursing funded by their churches in distant lands in Africa, India and the Far East. As well as caring for those suffering from incurable diseases, many of which can now be treated by drugs, they trained men and women from the area to work alongside them as medical and nursing assistants.
May, a mission nurse, Hankou, China, 1930s
Produced by Photochrom Co. Ltd., London
Nurse May worked as an auxiliary nurse at the Hankou Union Hospital, where an English Protestant missionary, Gladys Stephenson, pioneered nurse training. By the early 1930’s the school was graduating 30 Chinese nurses a year. Stephenson was the principal of the nursing school from 1927 until she was imprisoned by the Japanese after the invasion in 1942.
Deaconesses standing in the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home and Hospital, Chicago, IL, ca. 1909
Produced by A. J. Schumann Publishing
Deaconesses served in the mission field in China, Madagascar, Africa, India and Alaska. The Deaconess to the left wears a traditional nurses’ uniform, the Deaconess to the right wears a costume associated with the Norwegian Lutheran group’s missionary work in China.
Dutch Catholic nurse with a patient with Hansen’s disease (leprosy), Dahomey (today Benin), ca. 1910
Produced by Missionary House for African Missions, Keer, Netherlands
Missionary nurses cared for people from the area and trained them in modern health and hygiene. Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy), a bacterial infection now treated with drugs, was incurable one hundred years ago and blighted many people’s lives. Sufferers were forced to live in separate leper ‘colonies’ to prevent infecting others.
Illustration depicting St. Lucy’s mission hospital, Kaffraria, South Africa, ca. 1910
Produced by Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, United Kingdom
British missionary sisterhoods were among the first to establish rural health clinics in South Africa and to train men and women from local communities as medical and nursing assistants. Two Anglican sisters from the Community of St. Mary the Virgin established a rural dispensary at Kaffraria which became this mission hospital in 1906.
An illustration of a ward in a hospital for Africans, Accra, Gold Coast (today Ghana), 1924
Created by C. Chersman
Produced by Raphael Tuck and Sons, London
In 1924, the British colonial governor of Ghana, Frederick Guggisberg, described this image for the Gold Coast News: “This is another propaganda picture to show the people at home how Britain provides for the care of the native peoples…to show them that white nursing sisters and black nurses combine together to look after the sick natives of the country.”