Exhibition Panel featuring NLM Image

An exhibition panel titled Medicine Meets Culture features a reproduction of a postcard depicting a nurse with her arms spread in front of a red cross.

This Nurs’s open-armed gesture, superimposed over a red cross, evokes a Christian “angel of mercy,” c. 1917. Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Michael Zwerdling Postcards of Nursing Collection
The Jewish Nurse in a Christian Tradition
A tradition of Christian charity has long imbued the nursing profession. Hospitals expected nurses to model a Christian ideal and images of nursing often featured Christian symbolism. Jewish nurses had to contend with this association. Working in Jewish hospitals provided one solution. Some also found tole models from the Jewish tradition , such as biblical midwives Shifra and Puah.
“I cannot count the number of times I have been told that I am a fine example of Christian nursing. It is always meant as a compliment, but it drives me to distraction.” – Anonymous Jewish nurse, in As We See Ourselves by Evelyn Rose Benson.

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