The Nurses takes the reader into the hospitals that cared for the wounded and sick soldiers during the American Civil War. Two nurses, one serving the North and one serving the South, rally to the call for female nurses, which was an unthinkable occupation for a woman prior to the war. They go against all of society’s rules and mores, and dedicate themselves to the nursing profession. They also face the opposition of the established all-male medical community. Each nurse must cope with the hardships and the harshness of dealing with soldiers who have been maimed by gunshots and cannonballs.
Nursing, as a profession, was in its infancy in the mid-1800s and was relegated to male hospital stewards. Hospitals were perceived as a place where people went to die rather than a place where people went to receive medical care and attention and be made well. Women were nurses, but in the guise of mothers, aunts, sisters, and wives taking care of family members in the home. The Civil War changed everything. Hospitals became places where wounded soldiers had a chance to get the medical attention they needed, as well as a place to recuperate from illnesses contracted in camp and wounds sustained during a battle. There were too few male hospital stewards to attend to the thousands of men who required care, and women, North and South, responded to pleas for help by the thousands. As the years of the war dragged on, women took on increasingly more important roles within the hospitals and a significant number of women became influential in the establishment of nursing as an appropriate profession for women. In The Nurses, Emmelda Poole, a nurse in the hospital established in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington City, finds her life dramatically changed and learns to exist within the few rooms that she stubbornly establishes as her territory. She builds on the few skills she learned from Dorothea Dix, and develops skills and capabilities that help her to care for the men who come under her care. Livinia Atwater, who’d lived a sheltered life in the best part of residential Richmond, Virginia, rails against her mother’s rigid rules of comportment, and flings herself into work as a nurse at Chimborazo Hospital, the flagship hospital of the Confederate States of America. She is unskilled and inadept, but willing to learn. Each nurse follows the new path that has become her destiny. The Nurses has been rigorously researched and each episode is underwritten by historical accuracy. Each episode brings to life the trials and the struggles of Emmelda Poole and Livinia Atwater, fictional characters who embody the real-life women who gave their time, and some their lives, to care for the sick and wounded men who fought for what they believed in during the tumultuous years of the American Civil War. The Nurses is published as a series of short stories, each short story is an episode in the day of the life of each nurse. Each episode is 10-15 pages long (each episode is approximately 25 Kindle pages, or a total of 100 Kindle pages for all four episodes). Additional episodes of The Nurses will be published, 4 episodes per novelette, in the months to come. Each edition of The Nurses also provides the reviews and previews of the author’s full-length historical fiction novels, The Brothers and The McCulloughs, the two-volume McCullough Saga based on entitled identical twins whose lives are transformed by the American Civil War (an additional 40+ Kindle pages).