Friday, August 08, 2008

Nursing materia medica, or, An herb for what ails ya


Today's donation is a great contribution to our small but growing history of nursing collection. The third edition of Lavinia Dock's Materia medica for nurses was published in 1904, and was an early attempt to provide nurses with the pharmacological knowledge they needed in everyday practice. In addition to the day's drugs, the book covers organic materials from myrrh to broom-tops and ipecac to arrow-poison.

Lavinia L. Dock was a strong advocate for standardization of nursing practice and a prominent writer of nursing literature. She was also an early historian of nursing; OHSU holds several of her works.

Dock was a bit like our own Esther Pohl Lovejoy: prolific writer, staunch suffragist, and an international figure in her discipline. A biography on the American Nurses Association website tells us that:
[Dock] graduated from Bellevue Training School for Nurses in 1886 and soon after became night supervisor at Bellevue. As both student and supervisor, Dock became aware of the problems students faced in studying drugs and solutions. As a result, she wrote Materia Medica for Nurses, one of the first nursing textbooks. In addition to serving as foreign editor of the American Journal of Nursing, she wrote Hygiene and Morality and in 1907, co-authored with Adelaide Nutting the first two volumes of the four-volume History of Nursing. Volumes III and IV were completed by Dock alone in 1912. During her multi-faceted career, Dock worked with Lillian Wald at Henry Street Settlement and with Isabel Hampton Robb at Johns Hopkins School for Nursing. She was also secretary of the International Council of Nurses for more than 20 years. Throughout her life, she was a devoted suffragette and political activist.

1 comment:

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