The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters


File No. 111

From Document File No. 111, dated Sept. 4, 1902.

Long Courses of Study—Questions have arisen in regard to the management of sanitariums, and in regard to the plans to be followed in the education of physicians and nurses. We are asked whether a few or many should take a five years’ course. PC 38.6

All are to be left perfectly free to follow the dictates of an enlightened conscience. There are those who with a few months’ instruction would be prepared to go out and do acceptable medical missionary work. Some cannot feel that it is their duty to give years to one line of study. PC 38.7

Nurses not to be restricted.—After the nurses have served the term agreed upon, and have given their services in return for their education, they should be at liberty to take up work where they wish, and to earn what they can. Some may not have been able to save any money while getting their education. Their board and clothing, with the gifts they have made to the cause of God, may have taken all their earnings. Then if they are taken sick, they have no money to fall back on, and they are helped by the sanitarium as cases of charity. This is a species of slavery to which some will conscientiously submit, while others will backslide from the truth. PC 38.8

The young men and women who take their medical course of the nurses’ course, should not be taught that after their graduation they will ever after be amenable to the association under which they received their education. When nurses go to patients not in the sanitarium, they should not be required to return to the sanitarium all that they earn, except just enough to cover the cost of food and clothing. PC 39.1

There is much to be considered in regard to this matter. From the light I have, I know that these things are not properly adjusted. The nurses give their services in return for the education that they receive. They are not always to be required to pay a portion of their wages to the sanitarium. This is not just. PC 39.2

And when their term of service has expired, the nurses should be left free to work where they please, and to recognize that they are accountable only to God for the use they make of the money they earn. They are not to be required to pay to the sanitarium at which they received their training, a certain part of their earnings. They are to be left free as those who have settled their indebtedness, and are now at liberty to use their earnings as God directs. PC 39.3

Perhaps they have brothers and sisters who need an education in our schools. Perhaps their parents need what they can spare from their earnings. Their duty to their parents comes first. There has been suffering in families for want of the means that nurses have given in donations to our sanitariums. This very money was needed by their parents. PC 39.4

A reformation is needed on this point, for justice has not been done. A hold is not to be retained on the nurses educated in our sanitariums, as if they had sold themselves to the institution for life. This matter has been presented to me as something that needs to be set right. PC 39.5

How much depression and anxiety has been the result of this unwise business arrangement will never be known until the cases of all are seen as they really are. Many of the arrangements made in the name of medical missionary work, need adjusting by the wisdom of a Physician that is above all human physicians. Men need to understand that equity and justice and mercy are the attributes of the Most High. In no case will the Lord be pleased with a course such as has been followed in dealing with those who are anxious to obtain a knowledge in the treatment of the sick. These nurses and helpers rendered faithful service, but have not received an equivalent. PC 39.6

Practical Instruction to be Given.—Great care should be exercised in the training of young people for the medical missionary work; for the mind is moulded by that which it receives and retains. Too much incomplete work has been done in the education given. The most useful education is that found in practical work. PC 39.7

Our institutions are not to be so overgrown that the most important points in education do not receive the proper consideration. Instruction should be given in medical missionary work. The teaching given in medical lines should be blended with a study of the Bible. And physical training should not be neglected. PC 39.8

Great care should be exercised in regard to the influences that prevail in the institution. The influences under which the nurses are placed will mold their characters for eternity... PC 40.1

Simplicity in Diet and Treatments.- It would have been better if, from the first, all drugs had been kept out our sanitariums, and use had been made of such simple remedies as are found in pure water, pure air, sunlight, and some of the simple herbs growing in the field. These would be just as efficacious as the drugs used under mysterious names and concocted by human science. And they would leave no injurious effects in the system. PC 40.2

Thousands who are afflicted might recover their health if, instead of depending upon the drug-store for their life, they would discard all drugs and live simply, without using tea, coffee, liquor, or spices, which irritate the stomach and leave it weak, unable to digest even simple food without stimulation. The Lord is willing to let His light shine forth in clear, distinct rays to all who are weak and feeble. PC 40.3

Vegetables, fruits, and grains should compose our diet. Not an ounce of flesh-meat should enter our stomachs. The eating of flesh is unnatural. We are to return to God's original purpose in the creation of man. - PC 40.4