Florence Nightingale at Home (with Covid-19)

By | 5th August 2021

In the time BC (Before Covid), I used to dabble in the history of nursing. It was a privilege to be asked to endorse Florence Nightingale at Home by Paul Crawford and his colleagues. This is the capstone of a project to re-assess Miss Nightingale’s life and develop new materials that was intended to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2020….

The authors squeeze in a reference to the Covid-19 pandemic at the very end of the book but their analysis could be extended much more widely. A conspicuous feature of the pandemic has been the idealization of the home as a place of safety and refuge. Public spaces and public life are sources of danger and risk, while homes shelter and safeguard the occupants…This is, of course, a version of the home that is very bound to inequalities of class, gender and generation….The professional classes have had a good pandemic. Life has been organized to afford them maximum protection and minimum risk. Their salaries have been paid and their savings have risen in the absence of anything on which to spend their income. Others have been less fortunate. ..

Who, I wonder, is working on the Covid-19 book – fiction or non-fiction – that will similarly excoriate the indifference of the professional classes, whether they lean to the left or the right, to the lives and labors of those who made their survival possible and bearable?

A Social Science Space blog

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