Site News
April 2008
(Vol 2 Issue 2) 

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Welcome the Fourth news page here at Schools of Nursing.
We have been trying really hard to increase the frequency of this page, but so far we still cannot guarantee anything better than 3 monthly without losing some quality, which we are of course slowly increasing. We may slip in the occasional extra news on our way to making this page bi-monthly - and finally monthly (in the not too distant future) but for now, quarterly is guaranteed. But that is only this page of course. Updates to other areas are continuous...

Our first article on nursing badge design in our professional history is now on site and after a final check and agreement with the author, Sue Sullivan, will be opened to all. It will be after 29th April as Sue is right now about to take exams and can't check it before then, but it's well worth a read.

Personally, in spite of spending many of my own professional years as a nurse teacher, I found Sue's article very, very enlightening. Something that many of us just did not see - perhaps suspended, as it were, beneath our own noses!
Photo Galleries
Also Irish nursing badge collector Eric Wilkinson's photo gallery is moving forward. The first page will be on-line shortly after this news goes live. This first SoN gallery will be developed into our gallery for members own photographs. Whilst at present a self-upload facility is not available, members can submit their photographs for addition to named galleries here at SoN. (But please arrange this with us first). Registered members will be able to upload their own photographs into this area as soon as we are able to provide this facility safely.

Collecting... 'Nurse' History! in our 'Collecting' column in the January news featured six introductory examples in the hope of encouraging others to adopt, or develop further, this aspect of the history of our profession. Being my own favourite, and being strictly and totally biased (!), we are developing these examples as separate pages, so that anyone especially interested can follow the process in  each case to see what we do and how far we get. It is, I suppose, a variation of the genealogy theme. Just as superbly interesting (and sometimes just as disappointing). But I challenge you, discovering a nurse's professional history, whilst holding her or his certificates, badges, maybe a completed training syllabus, references, letters of appointment - and other empherama  in your own hands. Nothing, but nothing, compares with the feeling - especially when you have contact with a living relative to help fill any gaps! Publication will commence within the next two weeks or so.....

News Page Format.
We are developing the presentation a little further now that we have developed some sense of direction and are able to include just a little more content. Some of the content arises externally of course, the contributions of others have been a feature from day one.  As editor I sometimes think that my second name should be 'Indebted1' and I do sometimes think that it is about the only part I have right! Being an indebted one that is!

It is a bit difficult trying to strike a balance between what one would like to do and the realities which present themselves to visitors. I would love to see a news page absolutely overflowing with the most sought-after content, presented in a way that the pied piper of Hameln could only dream about when attracting attention!

What is happening is a slowly, slowly approach. Adding pictorial content, for example, can slow download speed for visitors to the point where it would not be worth the wait

Joking aside,  we do hope that we are heading in the right direction with this page - much time is being spent working on pictures in an effort to be able to include more whilst ensuring good speed and a more attractive page.  I wonder if we are succeeding....? Feedback is much appreciated. Are we getting there?

The site forum - is still slowly accumulating new members. Contribution is not a prerequisite for membership. Members do have certain advantages nom-members 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 our dining room.

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

The recent server changes at our ISP went off very well. They did involve major changes for us, some time and an almost vertical learning curve. Hopefully we are still (as a site) traveling upwards!
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. All mail 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... Special awards....
Of the many ways there are of preserving nursing history - collecting awards which can be regarded as 'Special' is almost as difficult as trying to gain one. Special to an individual recipient that is...

The gold, the silver and the bronze medals awarded for outstanding performance during nurse training; for special performance during the course of duty (especially in the armed forces); for long service to the profession...

There are of course very many such awards - medals awarded even for the best performance in hospital exams in years gone by regularly pop up in auctions and are often beautifully made and presented. They are all marks of excellence - however insignificant the some of the actual occasions leading to their award may seem today. Their worth can only be assessed in relation to the difficulties or otherwise to obtaining them which existed at the time of their being won.

Small wonder then that in the days when simply being accepted as a student nurse was, to say the least, generally difficult, surviving more difficult, and being awarded any hospital medal even if a nurse did survive the three years of training - seriously unlikely for most. Such awards were not the most frequent occurrences. Obtaining a was gold an impossible dream - and dreaming was actively discouraged! Actively....

Other 'Special Award' acquisitions for my own collection include:-

A Bris
tol United (Southmead) Hospital nurse - a 1932 Gold Medal and Ribbon, a magnificent medal in pristine condition with original ribbon and complete with case.

St Bartholomew's Hospital (1922)(gold) prize medal
- complete with original ribbon - in superb condition.

A Haygarth silver medal - Chester Royal Infirmary 1925, complete with original ribbon - pristine!

And lo!
A bronze medal from Greaves Hall Hospital, Southport,1970. We still need to photograph this one, but we will be adding it to a photo gallery of these awards.

I also managed to purchase, a little while ago now, a long-service badge issued by Newcastle HMC to Miss M Rutherford for services as a Sister and Nursing Officer from 1951-1971 - twenty years service in a senior positions. One can only wonder, holding this gem of a badge with it's gorgeous royal blue enamel and silver 3 dimensional sculpted castle sitting in the centre (saying nothing of the superbly perfect engraving of the words marking the award, just what Miss Rutherford felt when it was presented to her...  Just how much esteem those behind such presentations must have held such nurses in.... How well nursing service was recognised....  Her career must have started many years before she became a sister.

The point about such awards is that, among other things, nurses and nursing was held, generally, in a fair degree of esteem and that the profession itself marked outstanding performance from among  it's own ranks.

The armed services had their own outstanding awards too - I had the good fortune to be able to purchase on of the highest awards to a nurse in the armed forces, the RRC Medal - albeit a class 2.  Making the recipient an ARRC - but this one is very special. (Any award of this medal is special). Unlike many others on the market we know the surname of the nurse to which this one was awarded - and are now in the process of attempting to trace her history and that surrounding it's award. Complete and perfect in it's own box and with a link to a surviving family member!

The first recipient of the RRC medal was Florence Nightingale herself. The second recipient was sister Janet Wells, a nurse in Zululand during the Anglo-Zulu war in 1897. You can read much more on this QARANC website, which states that:-

"The decoration is awarded to army nurses for exceptional services, devotion to duty and professional competence in British military nursing. Queen Victoria wanted a special award for the distinguished service by women nursing sisters after the death of 24 army nurses in South Africa".

We will, of course, be keeping you posted about our own special RRC associate's nursing history.

I wonder if there was a gold from St Thomas Hospital (Nightingale) SoN? Or a silver? A bronze would do... All donations gratefully received!! I wonder if Florence Nightingale had a gold which was recently sold on ebay?......

And I missed it...  Forgive me? I never would....

  Another Photograph from the past...This time
      St Helens & Knowsley SoN, Whiston,
     Prescott, Merseyside - January 1978

Now 30 years ago... Where are they now? In January 1978 this group at the St Helens & Knowsley School of Nursing was being photographed on the lawn outside..  Go to 'Photo Gallery.

Who's Who...

Left to right/Back Row to Front.
Back Row: 1.Brenda Byrne. 2.Janet Norris. 3.Karen Larsen. 4.Marie Noonan. 5.Karen Ahern. 6.Janet Naylor. 7.Carmel Hogan. 8.Linda Halsall. 9.Val Costello. 10.Patsy Clifford.

Middle Row (Sitting): 11.Julie Rathbone. 12.Mr Danny Lynch (SNO Teaching). 13.Mrs Josie Brown (NO Teaching). 14.Mr John P Dodds (SNO Teaching). 15.Mrs Madge Crowther (SNO Teaching). 16.Mrs Elsie Kelsall (Nurse teacher). 17.Sister Austen (Nurse Teacher). 18.Kate Harris.

Front Row: 19.Eileen Martin. 20.Anne Murphy. 21.Phillip Chalmers. 22.Val Lomax. 23. Jackie Diamond.

SoN forum member 'Ophorus' sent us this 'photo and says,

"This wasn't a PTS - I think we were six months or so into training, a couple/three girls had dropped out at this point, so it was summer 1978.

The person who took the photo was a friend of one of the girls, Linda Halsall I recall, his name was Mike.. He wasn't a professional photographer - merely a friend with a camera and reasonable technique, so copyright should not be an issue (blame me - I have broad shoulders).

The 'photo was taken on the lawn outside of the School of Nursing, at Whiston; now a building site for the new concrete and glass Whiston Hospital. So sad - as it was an early two storey local sandstone building, the most attractive building on the hospital site. I think it's called progress"....

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.


Would you like to see your PTS or training group featured here? We desperately need more photographs to feature. Can you help?  If so please Contact us.

We express our grateful appreciation to those people
who have contributed the photographs used
on this page.

1. News heading photo - John Reeves
2. Bristol Southmead Gold -  John reeves
3. St Bartholemew's Gold - Ruth Watkin
4. Haygarth Silver - UKhistory
5. Newcastle LS - Peter Backman
6. RRC Medal photo's- Caulisbo

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