1. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN, EDITOR

Article Content

Who knew? I was only looking for a fun read, but what I discovered was a new nurse hero in literature. Her name is Madam Poppy Pomfrey, and she exists in all Harry Potter novels. It was quite a surprise to me, really, for no one had mentioned a nurse in these extremely popular children's books, but there she is. I am especially excited about this discovery because these books were written for children, and what a treat to find a nurse playing such an important role!!


Madam Pomfrey is in charge of the hospital at Hogwarts, the school of wizardry and magic that Harry attends. Not only is Madam Pomfrey in charge of all the healthcare, but I was quite surprised to find that there is no mention of a doctor in any of the six Harry Potter books I have read so far. Whenever something goes wrong with anyone's health at Hogwarts, the same thing is said: "Get Madam Pomfrey!!" The general feeling among all the characters one meets in these books is that Madam Pomfrey can do anything. What can she do? Well, so far in the books (and this is not an exhaustive list of her accomplishments), she knew how to regrow all the bones in Harry's arm (mistakenly removed with a curse gone bad), cured Harry's friend Ron from a dragon bite, treated Harry's friend Hermione after a spell turned her into a cat, mixed a special "pepperup potion" to cure colds, healed Harry after he fell 50 feet off a flying broom, changed Hermione's teeth back to normal size when they grew to gigantic proportions, treated Alicia, a student, when a curse made her eyebrows grow so much that they obscured her vision, and restored Professor Moody to health after he had been locked in a trunk for months. No matter what the health problem, both students and professors consistently say, "It will be all right once Madam Pomfrey gets here."


This is of interest to me because I have long been concerned about who is talking to young children about nursing. When I was a child, there were the Nurse Nancy books (complete with Band-Aids in the back of the book) to inspire me. Okay, maybe it was her cool cap that first caught my eye, but inspiration is inspiration, right? Where are the children's books that could motivate young people to become nurses today? I can tell you-they are practically nonexistent. The Cherry Ames series of books for preteens and teens about a nurse solving crimes has been recently revived, but the stories were written between 1943 and 1968. Where are the books for today's preteen or teenager? Madam Pomfrey is a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to the world of literature. I am thrilled that a nurse (identified as a "nurse" consistently in the books) has such a prominent role in these books and that she is so much respected. Madam Pomfrey, the fictional nurse who exists at Hogwarts School for Wizards, is a new role model for young people. She can do anything, and she works independently!!


Children of all ages need to read books about nurses and nursing to help them understand what a great profession it is, and to inspire them to join us. Very young children need to have books with great nurse characters read to them. Where will these books come from? I hope that perhaps some of them will come from you. I bet there are many of you out there who could write such books. Nurses can be found in the strangest places, even in a school for wizards, doing the greatest things. Let us find more ways to tell children all about us!!


Margaret Comerford Freda, EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN




[email protected]