Site News
November 2007
(Vol 1 Issue 1)  

                                 SCHOOLS USING '

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Welcome to the first news page here at Schools of Nursing.

It seems forever and a day that the idea for this particular site was conceived. The original idea being followed almost immediately by the realization that, although we possessed the necessary background, technical ability and web-space, there was absolutely no way that we could build what will become, in effect, a vast site without outside assistance. A site presenting accurately and comprehensively pre-university nurse education in the UK - UK schools of nursing from the start to around 1995!

The alternative - superficial surface skimming - was simply unthinkable. Such would be an insult to nursing history and the nurses who made it.

Technical help was no problem. Manageable in-house. Although there was the not so obvious amount of work and time involved. That alone was daunting - it still is, though now we are actually on the road and running it feels much easier. Fool's Gold!.... The road ahead has a vanishing point which seems beyond infinity.

The need was for help from other nurses. The people who were part of the making of nursing history. We found this initially in Peter Maleczek - founder and leader of the 'nursing badges' group on the MSN Network. Peter ('backman') supported us unstintingly from the outset and encouraged other members of the nursing badges group to assist - primarily by allowing the use of their photographs of their badge collections. On this score it needs to be recorded that the collections of Peter himself (English, Scottish, and Welsh); the Irish nursing badge collection of Eric Wilkinson; Susan Sullivan and not least by any means, Bill and his collection of Kent nursing badges - plus the other members of the nursing badge group who have offered help - if we have not acknowledged you personally yet, it is only because we have yet to take up your offers (steal your photographs/seek your offered assistance) because (unlike Ali Baba) we only possess a few accomplished thieves.

Or we have not had time to shout for help!

The site forum was considered an essential. Somewhere live where people can chat. Can relate and share their own experiences. Contact colleagues. Offer information.

Because the site is about nursing history, much of what will make it come alive will not only come from records, but from living nurses. We wanted somewhere live where real live nurses can not only contact others - old colleagues perhaps - and can also contribute to nursing history directly with stories and reminiscences. Dare we add, 'revelations'?....

Whatever, we have the a chance here on the forum to add our own contributions directly, rather than, was so often the case in the past, through a third party. Please join in - all contributions are welcome.

E-Mail Contact - the 'contact' link (above and throughout the site) arrives directly on the webmaster's desk. Use it to communicate directly with the site. It is considered confidential unless the contents are stated to be otherwise.

Several nurses have already communicated about aspects of the site. Every single communication is considered to be important. All receive personal replies - if ever you do not get a personal reply please tell us. All comments and suggestions are well considered and where necessary acted upon. Never believe that we have forgotten - sometimes changes take a little time - for example when we need to check points raised against our data.

More thanks..
We will eventually include a page credits. For now we would like to thank Adrian B - our website 'mechanic' for applying his expertise to the development of our forum and it's database. Julie B (no relation) for applying her expertise as a librarian. Susan B (again no relation to the others!) for applying her expertise on genealogy whenever it has been sought. To everyone who has contributed we owe a debt which we hope the existence of the site itself will eventually repay.

My personal thanks are, hopefully, undoubted.  I am deeply indebted.  WB.

Being about the history of schools of nursing, one of the obvious ways is to collect their history is to collect the badges awarded to qualifying nurses on completion of their courses. The first page dealing with this aspect is already here on-line. This will be extended to deal with specialized aspects of collecting nursing/hospital badges.

Meanwhile a second page is being prepared on collecting other historically important items, for example stamps and first day covers associated with famous nurses such as Florence Nightingale, Mrs Bedford Fenwick and as further example, Edith Cavell, who was arrested shot in France by the Germans during the first world war on the grounds that she was a British spy.

Philatelic history has also recorded individual hospitals, such as the Royal Hospital Haslar, probably best known for it's association with the Royal Navy (PMRNNA).

Nursing buckles worn by nurses are also collectors items and are regularly traded on ebay. Regrettably, because of the lack of individual identity, the majority are now probably destined to become items of old jewelry - at least the silver variety.

Items of nurse uniform - particularly that of the armed forces are regularly available - often in un-issued condition.

The certificates of training, syllabus of training, Certificates of Registration as a nurse, to say nothing of those issued after post registration specialized training, perhaps in the care of premature babies issued or those qualifying as clinical teachers and/or nurse tutors. Hard sought. Hard won. Often cherished by their owners. Too often discarded and lost. Along with much of their associated individual history.

Badges; belts; buckles; buttons; uniforms - capes; caps; dresses and even aprons, stamps; first day covers; books and outdated official documents - some of the items available which help record the history of the nursing profession. 

If anyone doubts their desirability - how about this - a lock of Florence Nightingale's hair from the hospital at Scutari?...... Not possible?  OK - something maybe even more of an Indigo Jones adventure - Mrs Bedford-Fenwick's GNC badge - the first ever issued. It was, wasn't it?.....Issued that is?....

Out there somewhere. Like the Holy Grail.....

Gt Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London - January 1957

Almost 51 years ago... January 1957 saw the commencement of this PTS Preliminary Training School course at Gt Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, London. Another 28 young ladies beginning a career in nursing.  Go to 'Photo Gallery.

Left to right/Top Row to Bottom
Back Row: 1.Susan Humphrey. 2.Jennifer Clark. 3.Pamela Symonds. 4.J.M. Abott. 5.Susan Nightingale. 6.Jennifer R. Sumner. 7.Elinor Cadell. 
Second Row: 8.Query?. 9.E.June Arundel. 10.Susanna Groome. 11.Janice Allen. 12.Jennifer A.Dixon. 13.Rosemary Ennals. 14.Dinah V.Teale.
Third Row: 15.Angela Bower. 16.Joanna Seth. 17.Mary Rogers. 18.Dorothy C. Brook. 19.Ann Black. 20.Margaret Hopkins. 21.Ann Dodd.
Front Row: 22.Anne Hammond . 23.Susan Hardwick. 24.Janet Horton. 25.Shirley Hill. 26.Valerie A. Hearne. 27.Query ?.

*Can anyone help? We have two uncertainties in our identifications. Position numbers 8 & 27. We also have two surplus names - Elizabeth Swann/Betty Boniface. (Our informant cannot remember a Betty Boniface at all - was one of these ladies having a laugh we wonder, or was Betty really there? Please tell us if you know.

Well, that seems a very pleasant note upon which to end the first Schools on Nursing News, so for now I will say goodbye and wish you all well.

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