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Welcome to our fifteenth news page here at Schools of Nursing.
Still chasing my own tail... But hopefully bringing a little more of our news to ensure that you know that the site news is actually edited and checked by people and not by our computers. But then if it was computer generated the news might just be published on time...
First, a failure - Missing Badges.
In the last news I was able to report that Ruth Coulter had set a record - acquiring a replacement for her missing badge within 24 hours of applying our method. 'Surely thatís a record' I gloated (a little) somewhat unwisely. As shortly after that another success turned into a disaster when another nurse who had also successfully acquired a replacement lost it to burglars! And shortly after that I created my own personal failure, (so far), being persuaded by another nurse's husband to attempt to replace his wife's missing badge. Effectively putting my money on my own words. I am still persisting, still persevering - the hardest part I thought - and still unsuccessful. I am finding my own failure to be difficult to accept.... Can it really be this hard? But I will continue to seek this particular badge.
After which it is back to the rules, which I personally broke with the best of intention, and even if I eventually find the badge I seek - and I quote - "There is one thing that we cannot do however.......we cannot obtain the badge for you. Sorry."
Member Photograph Galleries.
The galleries are becoming a
small on-line museum and are adding to our knowledge of nursing history quite
nicely, thanks to our contributors. It is available to anyone who cares to
register as a member - a very simple process. All is free...
Collecting... Certificates - paper evidence!
Ubiquitous. Certificates that is. I cannot speak for nations other than the British, but I can say that for a so-called nation of shopkeepers, we are most certainly a nation of paper chasers and hoarders. Births; deaths; marriages; christenings; baptisms; qualifications; divorces; presentations; achievements; 'O' levels; 'A' Levels; Pre and post levels - there is even a post-doctoral level degree certificate. Certificates for all ages and all reasons. We certainly love paper...
British Nursing certificates, like all others, are a printed record of achievement. Most were (still are) issued to individuals to mark the nature and date of the achievement. The most important to any nurse are perhaps those marking statutory achievement - state registration and equally importantly, those certificates issued by individual hospitals. All dated. All Individually named. All, in the case of the latter, meant to be presented to the intended recipient at an official presentation. The public acknowledging of both the individual nurse and of the achievement of the hospital as a whole - all of whom would be present at the regularly recurring ceremony. Marking the achievement of all concerned. Recording it for posterity! History as it happens!
The ceremony is emotive. It is meant to be. An expression of sincere recognition of the achievements of all involved for the good of everyone - including the ones who are rarely present - the patients... Well motivated hospitals. Well motivated staff. High standards. Greater good! No wonder then that hospital certificates were intended to impress the emotive aspects of becoming a qualified nurse, often elaborate in all respects, whereas state registration certificates intended to record an official status and tend to be functional to the point of being an official statement - almost rudimentary. Which are the more collectible? It depends whose name is on them, but given the shortage of those of historic figures, my money is on hospital certificates - they seem to say much more historically and are well worth collecting.
From a purely mercenary point of view It would seem that the older and better known the hospital issuing the certificates the better. Whilst this may be true, it is also the case that they may be much more difficult to find and command a much higher price than the less esoteric, though prices are still low. Good news for collectors. I have managed to acquire several superb examples - The London Hospital; Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children; Bethlam Royal & Maudsley hospital; The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh School of Midwifery; The Glasgow Royal Maternity and Women's Hospital (Headed by a print of the original hospital building - 1834); Addenbrooke's Hospital (Cambridge). They are all large - some easily A3 size. Printed on superb quality papers. Often with the most ornate type and almost always with gaps left for the insertion of the recipients details handwritten in ink. Again often in calligraphic styles - but always handwritten with genuine signatures. Different colored papers, designs and motifs set off some of these more magnificent examples. Click image to enlarge.
But perhaps the real value was emotive. For the newly qualified to receive such a superbly prepared document must surely have made the recipients feel good - feel the recognition of their achievement - the more so that the certificates were often presented by a prestigious personage along with a highly prestigious and very well made hospital badge - more often than not in enameled silver...
The real value historically is that all this says something about the esteem in which nurses had come to be held. On another level these certificates say a lot about the people involved in nurse training at the various dates. The London Hospital certificate illustrated was signed personally by the matron and chairman of the hospital (twice) and also by a physician, a surgeon and an examiner. All of whom were therefore named, had stated positions, and were known to have been involved in the training of nurses at the hospital at the time the nurse qualified. The certificate states the broad outline of the areas of theory and practice and also an overall judgment of her performance. Signed; sealed; and delivered. Publicly!
I have several other certificates in my collection - I am sure that many collectors have. Each is a treasure in itself. So many different sizes; different colours; papers/cards; some embossed; some carrying seals; some watermarked; some not. All with a story to tell. Sometimes, as in this case, several stories. All have one main thing in common - the difficulty in obtaining, and then the difficulty in storing them... A little more research - and a future article perhaps...
Imagine. Imagine that you possessed the first certificate ever issued at the London Hospital - but one of your children had pasted it to a bedroom wall because you hadn't kept it securely... Forgive yourself? you never would.... A serious practical in rescue and conservation might help - but whatever, don't let anyone paint over it!
Well, another lot of missing
names, one never knows, perhaps someone will recognize an ancestor and tell
us! Once again that seems yet
another very pleasant note upon which to end the Site News, so for now all
the very best - smile and we all prosper!
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