Igor V. Karpenko,
Dmitry V. Gavryuchenkov,
Maria S. Sergeeva,
Galina N. Volovchenko
FSAEI HE I.M. Sechenov First MSMU MOH Russia (Sechenov University)
8 Trubetskaya St., building 2, Moscow 119991, Russia
The article deals with the activities of the Pokrovskaya (Novoladozhskaya) rural society of nurses in Russia at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. The beginning of nursing societies can be traced to 1844, when the fi rst Holy Trinity Sisters of Mercy Society was established in St. Petersburg. Similar nursing societies appeared in almost every provincial city in Russia during the second half of the 19th century. Sisters of Mercy worked in hospitals, almshouses and shelters and regularly traveled to epidemic-prone regions. At the beginning of 20th century, there were 115 nursing societies in Russia. Their work has always attracted the interest of historians and doctors. In 1879, Doctor of Medicine P.A. Ilinsky in his work “Russian women in the war of 1877–1878. An essay on the activities of nurses, medical assistants and women doctors” described in detail the heroic work of the nurses in caring for the wounded soldiers during the Russian-Turkish (Balkan) War of 1877–1878. Many academic articles, monographs and dissertations have been devoted to this topic in recent times, reflecting in detail both the domestic life and the professional activity of the Sisters of Mercy. At the same time, the rural nursing societies have received hardly any historical and historiographic analysis. Based on one example – the Emperor Alexander III Memorial Pokrovskaya (Novoladozhskaya) Society of Red Cross Rural Nurses – the role and importance of this community in the development of zemstvo medicine at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries are examined. The society’s activities are addressed, as are the reasons for which such rural communities of nurses could not become widespread in tsarist Russia.
Keywords: history of medicine, nurses, rural communities, Russian Red Cross Society, zemstvo medicine, epidemics, charity