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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 9, 2011


JAMA. 2011;305(6):626. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1921

With the rapid increase in sanatoriums, both public and private, for the treatment of tuberculosis, the employment of the considerable number of persons discharged from them with the disease either arrested or cured has become a problem of importance, and one that is not easy of solution. It is believed by many with experience in this regard, however, that unless the conditions are too bad, or impossible, the ex-patient with his sanatorium education in hygiene and correct living, should return to his former occupation. It frequently has been found that perhaps the fourteen or sixteen hours outside of the shop or office have contributed more to the patient's breakdown than the eight or ten working hours. The readjustment to a new occupation is not always feasible, and may entail financial sacrifices that are impracticable for the patient. In cases in which it is not possible for the patient to return to his former occupation, a partial solution of the problem has been found in the training of the discharged women patients as nurses for the care of tuberculosis patients. This plan was adopted in the Phipps Institute in 1903 and has been extended to the White Haven Sanatorium in Pennsylvania, to the Ohio State Sanatorium and to other institutions where training-schools have been established. Dr. Lawrence F. Flick,1 in describing the results of this work in Pennsylvania during the past seven years, says that it is the unanimous opinion of those who have watched these graduates in their work that the occupation of nursing consumptives is one of the best which a cured consumptive woman can take up for the preservation of her own health; and that the cured consumptive who has been trained for tuberculosis work makes by far the best nurse for tuberculosis patients. The confidence which such cured patients get from their experience, and the living evidence of the curability of tuberculosis which they themselves furnish, help them to win the confidence of their patients and to secure their cooperation. There are more demands from sanatoriums and dispensaries for these graduate nurses than can be supplied. The entrance of such trained women into this field brings a missionary spirit which means much in the crusade against tuberculosis.