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Welcome the fifth 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 of the site, including the Forum, 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, is open to all. It's well worth a read and I feel certain that the author would like to hear any comments. Link.
Personally, in spite of spending many of my own professional years as a nurse teacher, I found Sue's article very, very enlightening. Something about our hard won badges that many of us just did not see - suspended, as it were, beneath our own noses!
Also Irish nursing badge collector Eric Wilkinson's initial photo gallery pages are now online. Eric's badge photographs are a unique collection representing the whole of Ireland. It is also online at Squirl, but here on shoolsofnursing it represents our first steps toward providing another facility which will enable collectors of nursing history to upload to their own photo galleries. On whatever aspect of collecting users want to create a photo gallery about. Eric's pages (nursing badges) are part of the foundation of that project. Do take a look - make your comments if you wish, feedback is always appreciated. Link to Gallery.
Collecting... 'Nurse' History!
in our 'Collecting' column (below) in the April News
featured five introductory examples of 'Special awards' in the hope of encouraging others to
adopt, or develop further, this aspect of the history of our profession.
Since then I noticed a member of the ever-helpful 'nursingbadges'
website - Myke10661 - has posted photographs of 11 Badge Sets -
badges from the same nurse, which go a long way to illustrating that
fascinating aspect of collecting. Brilliant... Have a look...
One of the standard ways of discovering just how well (or not) a website is doing in the real world is to count the visitors. Before I head off into the battle of popularity stakes which exists on the internet let me clarify, just a little....
The easiest way to claim popularity is to cite the total number of visits (hits) a site has in say, one month. That is very misleading. If just one person visits our site once a day we can claim 28 (at least) visits per month, when all that has been happening is that the same visitor returns regularly. What we need to do is count not how many times the same visitor returns but how many different visitors (unique) arrive each month.
In our first month on-line, after several weeks of pure all out wearisome effort the reward loomed large.... A whole 140 unique visits - sometimes as many as 3 people on one day.. At least one of them was me and if we were counting 'hits' I would have notched up at least 250 without outside assistance, constantly re-checking like a true obsessive! That was January 2007. By June the figure had risen slowly to 688 unique (counted once) visitors.
June 2008 had seen the numbers rise to 2,312 individual visits per month to the main site, to whom the server dished up 5,540 page views. Not a vast number, but becoming worthwhile at last. But then, every last visitor, even if there were only one, is seriously important to us. We are striving to improve the quality continuously.
The site forum - Membership and Visitors.
Of the many ways there are of preserving nursing history - collecting historic records is probably not the most popular... And yet, the paper - letters of acceptance for training, individual syllabus of training, examination papers, letters of examination success, State Registration, appointment, promotion, special awards et al, are one of the most important aspects of collecting our professional history.
Original certificate of State Registration (SRN)for one of the earliest nurses admitted to the Register after the passage of the Nurse Registration Act - Betsy Whittle -SRN 8461 - 27th October, 1922. Plus her GNC Badge. How many such certificates remain in existence?
Official publications - (HMSO/hospital rules etc). Books written about hospitals (preferably by people who actually worked in them, and in our case preferably nurses). Photographs. Postcards. Philatelic items - stamps; first day covers; and so on - all so very important and many ending up in the bin! Better that someone seeks to collect this material than that...
Among my own collection of nursing history I have one or two training syllabi - ticked crossed, signed by the Student Nurse, Tutors, Matrons - in one case a Chief Male Nurse - all neatly set out and dated right down to the individual procedures...Absolute magic! A pity the school curriculum followed was/is not available.
State examination question papers, examination entry permits and regulations in all except fever nursing. But of course no completed written answer papers. I don't really know what happened to those, perhaps they were shredded? I would have loved to have seen the papers of the first GNC written exams! Indeed, I would have loved to have seen some of the written answers... Were they written in pen with real ink? I do remember once invigilating at a state written examination where the time-keeper was the Principal Tutor's spring wound alarm clock! Was there too much time allowed, or too little? But seriously - the written question paper/s from that first state exam, are there still original copies out there somewhere?
On the book front - among my collection - a very nice illustrated copy of 'Nursing at Guys' (Granta Editions) a magical mystery tour if you have not been there (or even if you have!) - beautiful. I also possess a superb (illustrated) copy of the book 'The Nightingale Training School 1896-1966' by Roy Wake published by Haggerston Press in 1998. A superb 2 Vol (illustrated) 1913 edition 'The Life of Florence Nightingale' (MacMillan). The plated illustrations are without compare... One of my great favourites is 'The Story of the Growth of Nursing' by Agnes Pavey, a Sister Tutor extraordinaire (2nd Ed, 1944) Faber & Faber. Unmatched - even if it is printed on wartime paper!
Imagine. Imagine that you could collect all the paper associated with
a particular nurses career. The original letter of application; the
acceptance letter; the (signed) training schedule; the syllabus followed;
the exam entry; admission cards; examination papers; the (pass) result
letter; the application to the GNC; the supporting letter of good character
and conduct from the matron and principal tutor; the certificate of
Registration and receipt for the fee; the letters of application for a post
and acceptance; the references; the photographs of a nurse in uniform;
perhaps with her original PTS group; wearing the training school/hospital
badge; perhaps the gold silver or bronze medal; the GNC registration
27 years ago... Where are they now? In January 1981 this group at the
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children School of Nursing was being photographed
at the beginning of their careers..
Go to 'Photo Gallery.
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