Site News
January 2008
(Vol 2 Issue 1) 

                                 SCHOOLS USING '

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Welcome the third news page here at Schools of Nursing.
Our third edition! A little late perhaps, but this time last year the site was just a twinkle in the eye!! A belief that it could be done! Now but a few months old we really do hope that we are learning to walk - ready for the first few tentative steps maybe. We are certainly on our feet - even if a bit wobbly still.. A little more encouragement, perhaps a gentle push (!!) and we will start moving forward towards our goal - running!! Thanks for all the support so far some has been absolutely incomparably generous. More on that in a later edition.

We In the last issue we said 'We are also working on our first contributed (under duress!) article'. ( illustrated feature on the design of our nursing badge history. Eight weeks should see it complete - the author keeps adding to it! (Don't stop - we are following).  We are proceeding.

Also in preparation is Photo-gallery of collector Eric Wilkinson's Irish Nursing Badges. It seems, looking at nursing badge photographs, that the unification of Gt Britain never actually took place in the real world. It is also apparent that nursing badges, on a collective basis are absolutely steeped in history. The basic designs; heraldry; and the myths and legends they so often portray mirror not only a local geographical influence but also (as in Myths and Legends) the history of the world! But the naming of individual badges opens yet another possibility - tracing individual nurse histories..

This theme is built upon below in the 'collecting' column. What the column doesn't emphasize is that in every instance (unless impossible) the assistance of a living relative who was able to supply valid information was obtained before commencing the research.  This in itself is not always easy, and is one of the aspects to be dealt on forthcoming pages on this topic.

*It is as well, perhaps, to remember that it would not be considered ethical to collect the nursing histories of living nurses without their knowledge. There is also, in relation to the UK, the data protection laws to consider.  However, it is quite possible to collect histories of past nurses providing appropriate permissions are, unless clearly impossible, obtained - and laws complied with.
The site forum - is slowly accumulating new members. Not all members contribute to the discussions - nor is a contribution a prerequisite of being a member. Members do have certain advantages though -the obvious ones being that they can both start new topics and/or contribute ad lib. Visitors are able to read the discussions on the main boards, but of course are not able to contribute or to see restricted pages. Cannot visit places like the forum  'Dining Room', (where just as in (past) real life), some of the possibly more interesting debates take place! I would have loved to have sat at Matron's table in the dining room.  I still wonder about what her team had to discuss over lunch.....

Whatever your own forum status, don't stop visiting - encourage others. All are welcome - just don't bring any advertising! Please.

Work on adding a photo gallery where members will be able to upload their own photographs (a site photo gallery where you will display your own contributions) is progressing. Not too difficult to achieve - we could just link a third party gallery - but even that route has it's drawbacks. Adverts often abound; space is frequently meager; and poor functionality is often regular occurrence. Not only frustrating, but sometimes downright irritating.  We hope that our own gallery contain none of those aspects. But then it takes a lot of work to add such a gallery. In other words - stable, frustration free galleries need expertise, time, effort, and money.

And to obviate the obvious question - no, our site is not free! Free to users - yes it is, but.. Members of our small team (and contributors) give their own time; invest their own expertise: their own effort; and their own money in attempting to deliver..... Enjoy - that's the reward! Free enjoyment?  SSsshhh...

You may have noticed on our home page that our ISP is about to make changes to our server. We sincerely hope that no inconvenience will occur. We have several years experience with the company concerned and know of no better.  Fingers crossed!

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. Stated to be for public consumption by you. Publication itself is an editorial decision.
Collecting... 'Nurse' History!
Of the many ways there are of preserving nursing history - Collecting "Badges; belts; buckles (the latter unfortunately were rarely marked in any way traceable to a hospital or individual nurse); buttons; uniforms - capes; caps; dresses and even aprons, stamps; first day covers; books and outdated official documents - certificates of nurse training and registration, and enrolment, training syllabuses; books, pamphlets and outdated official documents" - have all been suggested in the past two 'collecting' columns. Personally, I find the collection of the history of a nursing career the most fascinating - the one which I feel is the most rewarding - a  'Nurse History'.

The one which, to my mind, allows an expression of warm appreciation to someone who has often spent a lifetime helping others. Only, at the end of the day, to be consigned, unremembered after only a brief time, to forgotten history. What better way of preserving nursing history than that of the individual nurse is there? None, I think...

But it is probably the most complex. The one to be avoided unless you have the necessary expertise. The knowledge and ability. The time and facilities. The genuine desire (not curiosity) and the will to see things through to conclusion. An understanding of both nursing and nurses. This is the one that provides the greatest challenge. Best perhaps carried out by those who have been through the system. Nurses.

At the same time I would urge anyone who leans in this direction not to under-estimate the difficulties, or over-estimate their own abilities.  Both mistakes are serious. Both will lead to disappointment. And collectively the effect will more than likely be to - as any researcher of experience will repeat - muddy the field for others.

It will probably cause those who can often help most in collating a nurses history - the family, colleagues, and friends of a nurse - refusing future help to anyone. To cause that is almost unforgivable. It may well lead to the loss of a nurses history for all time.  A deserving biography lost....

On future collecting pages, I will be presenting the steps needed in collecting an individual nurse's history; the personal qualities and the facilities needed; the difficulties - how to become a successful nurse biographer. The pleasures of success!

But for now, lets have an initial taste of success! Right now I have six superb individual histories - nurse biographies, in the pipeline. They did not just fall from the sky however, and the first pleasures came from finding them.

The first to arrive, perhaps two years ago now, was Nurse Leila M. Hyde - a Haygarth silver medalist at Chester Royal Infirmary in 1925. I was almost struck dumb when I acquired her other badges, including her Chester Royal Hospital badge! Slowly progressing.

A second was Nurse Blakeway - A Bristol United (Southmead) Hospital nurse - a 1932 Gold Medalist. Her nephew supplied a little information, including that she was an army nurse in WW2 an subsequently emigrated to Australia. And her photograph. What superb trace elements! Some progress made.

The third was Nurse M. Brown, Beckett Miners Hospital. Her  badges; a photograph and some other paperwork provide more clues. Progressing.

A fourth was Miss Catherine (Katie) Roberts, a welsh nurse whose career spanned at least 31 years. Progressing a superb history.

The fifth was  Miss Elsie Fletcher who ended her career as Matron of New Hall Hospital, Southport. A 1936 Medal awarded to her started the chase. Started - feels outstanding.

The sixth was Mary Ellen Watkin  who retired as a St Bartholomew's (London) nurse after a career including also Tigne Hospital, Malta as a VAD nurse in WWI and Tower Hospital, Liverpool nursing injured soldiers in WWII. Progressing - stunning!

A little while before I acquired Mary Ellen Watkin's (Mollie) St Bartholomew's Hospital (1922)(gold) prize medal, an absolutely superb collection of her Bart's Hospital memorabilia was sold on ebay. I missed it...  For a second time recently I have to say - Forgive me? I never will....

    Another Photograph from the past...This time
                   Hospital Cadets from 1958

Almost 51 years ago... October 158 saw this group of Hospital Cadets with their responsible Nursing Officer (Assistant Matron Mary Glass) and supervisor V. Loundes posing for this photograph in front of the patient's library at Parkside Hospital, Macclesfield, Cheshire. All wanted a career in nursing  - most made it but at least 3 joined the armed forces and two joined the police force - one in the Military Police. Two of those joining the services gained top awards.  Go to 'Photo Gallery.

Left to right/Front Row to Back
Back Row: 21.Colin Pritchard. 22.Peter Wheeldon. 23.Stella Ratcliffe. 24.Ian Slater. 25.Wilf Burgess.  
Fifth Row: 19.Stella Clarke. 20.Ian Madden.
Fourth Row: 14.unamed. 15.Margaret Jackson. 16.Heather Whitfield. 17.Marjorie Oaks. 18.Joan Mellor.  
Third Row: 9.Jennifer Baker. 10.David Roberts. 11.Steven Howard. 12.Perl Morris. 13.Isobel Burgess.
Second Row: 5.Norma Hammond. 6.Pat Poynton. 7.Ilene Potts. 8.Faith Hope.
Front Row (sitting):
1.Elizabeth Dyer . 2.Mary Glass. 3.V. Loundes. 4.Janet Capper.

*Can anyone help? We have one uncertainty in our identifications. Position number 14. Please tell us if you know.

Well, that seems yet another very pleasant note upon which to end the third Schools of Nursing Site News, so for now I will say goodbye and wish you all well.  Oh, and don't forget that we start some new pages next month here at schoolsofnursing.


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