Analysis Of Hospital Sketches By Louisa Mary Alcott

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Louisa Mary Alcott wrote her book, “Hospital Sketches”, based on her experiences spent as a volunteer nurse at the Union Hospital in Georgetown during the American Civil War. Her account is considered a primary source that reveals the culture of nursing of the that time period. Nursing had a different definition by the historical American culture compared to today’s idea and principles of nursing. Women from various societal backgrounds were recruited into the nursing workforce to cure and heal the soldiers at war. Most of these nurses lacked proper medical experience and skills and were fairly unprepared for the unmanageable working conditions. Alcott experienced the crowdedness, poorly ventilated and rationed food as she severed as one of the nurses of her time.

Alcott's documentation is considered a primary source because its her own account of the event. Primary sources recall information that was remembered, but these sources must have information that is consistent with the appropriate time. The validation of the journal can be reviewed with the book, “A History of American Nursing” by Deborah Judd and Kathleen Sitzman to verify the consistencies. Secondary sources provide outside perspective on events that enable researchers to verify accuracy.

During the time of the American Civil War, the recruitment for nurses was in high demand. “War time activities provided opportunities for nurses to be intimately involved in the health and humanitarian care of soldiers, civilians and/or the enemy” (Judd, 3).
Most women felt that it was their national responsibility to do what was right for their country. Like most women of her time, Alcott wanted to participate and contribute to the war effort. The qualification to be a nurse w...

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...ho was entirely grateful for her service. “ Burrowing under his pillow, he produced a little bundle of what he called a ‘truck’ and gallantly present me with a pair or earrings, each representing a cluster of corpulent grapes and the pin a basket astonishing fruit, the whole large and coppery enough for a small warming-pan” (Alcott, 27)

During the American Civil War, nursing had a different expectation and viewpoint than it is today. The source of such information depicts what the time period appears to be at first glance. Alcott did not cure the injured men based upon which side they fought for; she wanted to help anyone who needed it. Her elaborate record of her time serving as a nurse during the American Civil War brought new insight of the culture and attitudes toward the medical profession as a nurse. Nurses of today had come from a history of changes and

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