Hedwig von Schlichting

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Hedwig von Schlichting (born October 29, 1861 in Berlin ; † November 14 (or 17) November 1924 in Hamburg ) was a German nurse , founder of a nurses' association and superior of a hospital.


Hedwig von Schlichting was born as the daughter of the officer and military writer Sigismund von Schlichting in the Berlin War Academy. From an early age she felt drawn to the Red Cross movement . Therefore she completed her nursing training at the nursing school of the Augusta Hospital in Berlin. The sponsor of this nursing school was the "Women's Hospital Association" of the German Red Cross , which was supported by Empress Augusta . The medical management of this school was incumbent on the internist Hermann Senator and the surgeon Ernst Küster .

After completing her nursing training at the Red Cross, Schlichting gained further professional nursing experience in the Berlin Protestant Elisabeth Hospital , which was founded by Johann Evangelista Goßner . Goßner's main concern was to assign the nurses a pastoral assignment. He also had an authoritarian-theological leadership style within a sisterhood in mind. Hedwig von Schlichting incorporated these attitudes into her conceptual ideas about care.

Schlichtings' time in Berlin was followed by a time as a nurse in Baden. She switched to the Karlsruhe Red Cross Association, founded by Grand Duchess Luise , with the largest number of members and which had a contract with important hospitals in Baden. On July 1, 1889, she became the superior of the surgical university clinic in Heidelberg, which at that time was headed and expanded by the renowned surgeon Vincenz Czerny . Here Hedwig von Schlichting expanded her nursing knowledge and participated in new developments in the field of anesthesia , surgical operation methods and the emerging oncology . This early work in the field of oncology was later to be continued by Pia Bauer , the pioneer of oncological care, who also came from the Karlsruhe Red Cross Sisterhood.

Erika Sisterhood

In 1894, Hedwig von Schlichting was appointed to the new general hospital in Eppendorf near Hamburg with the task of building a secular sisterhood there, independent of church and welfare associations, whose model should nevertheless be the motherhouse principle. Educated Protestant women from the upper social classes should receive a well-founded nursing education in the "Erika Sisterhood" that has now been established and gradually replace the care that was previously provided by the guards of the lower social classes. Hedwig von Schlichting also put the sisters of the Erika sorority on male wards, which was not necessarily easy in view of the moral opinions of the time. However, since male caretakers were to be dispensed with, there was little choice but to accept this step. Since Hedwig von Schlichting wanted to entrust her nurses with pastoral tasks and pursued an authoritarian leadership style, there were differences of opinion with the hospital director Theodor Rumpf . This resigned from his office due to the problems with Hedwig von Schlichting. A year later, however, Hedwig von Schlichting also had to give up her position as superior because the responsible committee of the Hamburg citizenship no longer tolerated her work and suggested that she limit her sphere of activity to the position of head of the Erika sisters.

Memorial stone, women's garden , Ohlsdorf cemetery

In 1902 Hedwig von Schlichting founded the German Sister Association with the aim of developing it into a national German sisterhood. In 1903 she got permission to run a private hospital. So she was able to give up her position as superior of the General Hospital in Eppendorf. The idea of ​​wanting to build a national German sisterhood based on the motherhouse principle with the ideas of Johann Evangelista Goßner turned out to be out of date and therefore no longer feasible. In 1919 Hedwig von Schlichting handed her private institute over to medical hands.

Hedwig von Schlichting is remembered with a memorial stone in the women's garden at the Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg.


  • Gordon Uhlmann: Living and Working in the Hospital. The development of the working conditions of the nursing staff in the late 19th century , in: Alfons Labisch , Reinhard Spree (Hrsg.): >> Every sick person in a hospital has his own bed <<, On the social history of the general hospital in Germany in the 19th century, Campus Frankfurt a. M., NYC, pp. 400-420.
  • Christine Auer: History of the Nursing Professions as a Subject. The curricular development in nursing education and training . Inaugural Diss. at the Institute for the History of Medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , academic advisor Wolfgang U. Eckart , Heidelberg 2008, pp. 119–122.
  • Marlies Bergers, Andreas Betz: From the head nurse to middle management or the changed role of the nursing ward manager , in: The pediatric nurse . ISSN  0723-2276 , 23rd year 2004, issue March 2004
  • Monika Robke: Biography of Mrs. Hedwig von Schlichting with special consideration of her time in Hamburg . Unpublished seminar paper at the Institute for Medical / Nursing Education and Nursing Science of the Medical Faculty (Charité) of the Humboldt University Berlin, 1994.
  • Horst-Peter Wolff: Biographical lexicon for nursing history. Who was who in nursing history . Volume 1. Ullstein Mosby, Berlin and Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-86126-628-8 , p. 181

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolfgang Petter:  Schlichting, Wilhelm Lorenz Sigismund Franz von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-11204-3 , p. 76 ( digitized version ).
  2. On the history of the »Erika House« , accessed on October 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Christine Pieper: The social structure of the chief physicians of the General Hospital Hamburg-Barmbek 1913-1945 . A contribution to collective biographical research, publications by the Hamburg working group for regional history, LIT Verlag Münster, Hamburg, London 2003, on Hedwig von Schlichtung and the private institute p. 76 + 77.