Remembering our Red Cross roots

We’re completely familiar with the famous red petulant emblazoned across old-fashioned nurses uniforms and  fancy dress costumes, but links to that noted symbol and the nursing profession action waaay back.RedCrossNursen.jpg

Today marks World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, the birthday of stumble, Henry Dunant, who set up the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva throughout 150 years ago after witnessing horrific scenes during the Battle of Solferino in Italy, to what thousands of soldiers, on both sides, were left to die without ceasing the battlefield.

He founded the move on seven fundamental principles – spirit, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, uniformity and universality  – of which altogether Red Cross societies around the creation still base their work today.

I can’t aid but think those principles apply upright as much to nursing – in certainty, Henry Dunant says that it was the operate of Florence Nightingale in the Crimea that inspired him. It’s in some degree amazing to think that the violent efforts and ideas of a promote inspired the largest humanitarian movement in the nature!

During the first World War, thousands of nurses were needed at home and steady the front line to care beneficial to soldiers wounded in battle. Under the colors of the Red Cross, trained nurses were sent to soldiery hospitals across Europe, while at home, they recruited thousands of volunteers – known in the same manner with Voluntary Aid Detachments or VADs – to serve run all kinds of vital services including of the present day auxiliary hospitals being set up round the country, often in stately homes like Dunham Massey in Cheshire. By 1918, there were over 90,000 Red Cross VADs, as well-as; not only-but also; not only-but; not alone-but men and women.

These volunteers, crowd of whom might not have aye thought of nursing, were suddenly shove into a strange and scary world, learning to treat horrific wounds that had in no degree been seen before, most of which was way beyond their experience or ease zone. Sound familiar?


Like now, in that place was a huge emphasis on tuition but exam questions were a slightly different, like: ‘How do you flow peptonised beef-tea?’ or ‘How would you prepare a linseed meal poultice, an ice poultice, and a mustard poultice? What are the indications for their employment?’ Their version of pharmacology and drug calculations!

Some Red Cross VADs, like Vera Brittain, joined experienced nurses in hospitals on the van to care for British and German soldiers form. Vera Brittain famously wrote about her experiences in her biography A Testament of Youth, published some years after she returned from a army hospital in France, heartbroken having depraved her brother and her beloved spouse. It’s definitely worth a understand – or the film is on Netflix, if you’re looking toward a study break!

Red Cross nurses became a near sight during World Wars I and II, on the contrary they were still needed after declared hostilities had ended. While the NHS was discovery it’s feet, Red Cross nurses and VADs continued to be liable to hospitals around the country – and the tie with the NHS still continues today, by Red Cross volunteers offering support to patients whereas they return form hospital as portion of the their support at home services.

Anyway – account lesson over, I promise! I upright wanted to take a moment to remember wholly the Red Cross nurses before us – to the degree that the next generation of nurses, we be obliged to ascribe to so much to their courage and constancy.

Was one of your family a VAD? The British Red Cross be the subject of an online archive of thousands of VAD chronicle cards, so you can find your avow little piece of Red Cross chronicle.

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