24 June 2008


As a neophyte student nurse, it came a bit of a surprise to learn that the first nurses in history were not the Florence Nightingale types but were the so-called "warriors of blood and steel" instead, such as 12th-century knight Balian of Ibelin (who was portrayed in Ridley Scott's 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven).

The Teutonic Knights and the Knights Hospitallers--besides their "default role" of disemboweling their Muslim enemies during the Crusades--were all religiomilitary organizations tasked to provide nursing care for poor, sick, and wounded soldiers and pilgrims in the Holy Land.
I don't wish to sound sexist here, but it was only logical that the early battlefield nurses were men and not women. During those times of barbaric armed conflicts, female nurses would have been molested or, worse, ravished and transformed into uncooperative "fuck dolls" by sex-starved soldiers.
In the Philippines, nursing still remains a female-dominated field. However, more and more Filipino guys like myself have decided to reassume our (ahem) historical role and heritage as caring and nurturing "warrior nurses." 

Photo Source: The Internet Movie Database


Anonymous said...

fuck dolls? ouch. what a picture.

Anonymous said...

It might also interest you to know that Walt Whitman-- American poet, renowned father of free verse, and author of Leaves of Grass-- was a volunteer army nurse during the civil war years. Whitman condensed his wartime experience in a newspaper feature, The Great Army of the Sick (1863) and in a book published in 1875/1876, Memoranda During the War. His oft-disputed sexual preference notwithstanding, Whitman belongs to a special breed of male warrior nurses: wordsmith/ word-warrior/ war-time caregiver. : )

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. The first nurses were men... who love other men. Hehehe.