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All Posts, P&S History

Author Guest Post: Jenny Main

Ethel Gordon Fenwick – Nursing Reformer and First Registered Nurse

Ethel Fenwick was born near Elgin, Moray, Scotland, fourteen years after Scotland’s oldest independent museum, Elgin Museum was opened. While Ethel made her important impact upon the world, Elgin Museum has also proved to be of international significance. It houses a unique fossil collection which is of world importance. Amongst many other delightful exhibits, from dinosaurs, pre-history and to modern times, this museum also displays a great collection of carved Pictish stones and locally unearthed Roman hoards and artefacts. Elgin museum is supported by charitable donations, administered by The Moray Society, (Scottish Charity No: SC017546) and is run by dedicated volunteers. Without an understanding of our past we cannot understand our present and without this small but dedicated charity our world history would be the poorer. This is why the proceeds of my book ‘Ethel Gordon Fenwick, Nursing reformer and first registered nurse’ are going to support Elgin Museum.

Elgin museum

More than a century ago, Ethel Fenwick was a staunch supporter of nurses and worked tirelessly to develop the profession. However, she did not limit her efforts to one cause – she was outspoken on equal rights for women and would have undoubtedly appreciated the work done today by Women’s Aid, the charity that supports women fleeing domestic violence, helping them to rebuild their lives.

By improving conditions for nurses, Ethel Gordon Fenwick (who was the first registered nurse) ensured people suffering illness or injury received the best possible medical care. Had she been alive today she would, like many others in the medical professions, be supporting the charity ‘Freedom from Torture’. This charity is an offshoot of Amnesty International and is devoted to support, treatment, care and rehabilitation of victims of torture who seek protection in the U.K. in one of the world’s largest treatment centres. Since its founding in 1985, over 57,000 victims of horrific and often unimaginable sufferings have been given a chance of a new and safe beginning, to rebuild their lives, thanks to the expertise of devoted professionals. The dream is for such an organisation to no longer be necessary, meantime, this registered charity relies on support from humanitarians everywhere.

Jenny Main, 2022

Author of Ethel Gordon Fenwick, Nursing Reformer and First Registered Nurse

All proceeds of Jenny’s book go to support Elgin Museum in Moray, Scotland.