NORTH NEWTON, KAN. Long before the British nurse Florence Nightingale carried her lamp to care for the soldiers in the Crimea, Russian nurses were alleviating suffering through compassionate care. In Russia, however, the books that recorded that care are silent. Recovery of the books that hold the historical accounts of Russian nursing care has interested a Bethel College nursing teacher. Gregg Schroeder, associate professor of nursing, will speak on "Beyond Florence Nightingale: Nurses on the Other Front" at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1 in the Administration Building Chapel, Bethel College. The lecture is part of the 2003-04 Faculty Seminar Series at Bethel College. Admission is free and open to the public.
Schroeder visited Russia for the first time in 1993 and has made three other trips to Moscow and other Russian cities. His interest in this topic began when he was a child and he heard stories about his great-great-grandfather’s experiences during the Crimean War. Also, growing up during the height of the Cold War piqued Schroeder’s interest in Russia and its people.
In March he will lead a Bethel College-sponsored 10-day trip to Russia as part of a nursing course titled Historical Perspectives of Russian Nursing, which he will teach during spring semester at Bethel. The course and trip are open to the public.
Schroeder’s interest in finding books about the history of nursing in Russia began several years ago when he learned that Yuri Bessonov, a medical doctor and archivist affiliated with a nursing college in Vyborg, Russia, was finding references to books that had disappeared from libraries in Russia, most likely during World War II. Bessonov has sent Schroeder the names of missing books, and Schroeder has located and purchased copies of several of these missing books in the past 14 months. In March he will carry at least four books to Russia to give to Bessonov.
"The books have helped Yuri recover the stories about these Russian nurses," Schroeder says. "Now we have moved beyond the Crimean War and are hoping to learn what prevented Russian nursing from coming into the modern world." The ultimate goal for both professionals is to gather together an accurate account of Russian nursing history.
Schroeder, a Bethel College graduate, holds a master’s of science in nursing degree from Wichita State University. He has studied at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and plans to transfer to Duquesne University School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa., to pursue a doctoral degree in transcultural nursing. He has taught at Bethel College since 1992.