How Castors Helped Florence Nightingale

How Castors Helped Florence Nightingale

Author: Mark Farrell

Florence Nightingale is one of the most revered Brits of all time and is effectively known as the mother of modern nursing practices. In fact, she revolutionised the way in which nurses were educated, administered care and were perceived by men in society. She made sure that nursing became a respectable profession for women outside the home, thus giving them a role and helping to perpetuate the feminist movement at a later date. However, she is, of course, best known for her role in the Crimean War despite the fact that she is crucial to understanding history in so many ways. It was during that war that she changed nursing forever, although it was later that her practices became more effective thanks to the use of Castors.

Nightingale arrived in the Crimea in 1854 to find medical staff treating wounded soldiers appallingly. They did their best, of course, but were using poor hygiene practices and suffering as a result of limited medical supplies. As a result, the men who were injured in battle were often dying from unnecessary infections that could quite easily have been prevented. The first thing Nightingale did was to clean up the wards, improving hygiene and general medical practices so as to reduce infection and bring the death rates right down from 42% to 2%. She did all this without castors as they were not invented until 1876, but imagine what she could have done with them!

Castors would have made the clean up and general improvements to hygiene much easier and quicker during the Crimean War, with Nightingale able to make greater strides in revolutionising nursing practices in a shorter period of time. It would not have taken as long to bring the death rate down. Why? Because trolleys would have been available to help Nightingale and her team, improving efficiency in a shorter period of time.

Castors are essentially the wheels that can be found on trolleys, furniture and other units that can easily be moved. They make for the smooth transport of goods. Just picture how medical trolleys are used today, piled high with medical supplies on each hospital ward. They can easily be run from one bed to the next so medication, syringes and other such items can get to where they need to be quickly. Take trolleys that are fitted with institutional castors from the 2BZD series (available from BIL Castors and Wheels) for example. They are 50mm to 125mm and can withstand a load of 40kg to 100kg. From cleaning materials to medication, Nightingale could definitely have got the military hospitals into shape with this helping hand.

Florence Nightingale died in 1910 and got to see people benefit from her improvements to nursing. She also got to see the use of castors in hospitals so that nurses following her example were able to help patients quicker and easier than ever before. As such, those little wheels undoubtedly helped her to introduce significant improvements into all sorts of hospitals and into the nursing profession in general.

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