Site News
October 2008
(Vol 2 Issue 4) 

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Welcome the sixth news page here at Schools of Nursing.
Difficult to believe, but it really is 2 years or so since SoN went online in an attempt to create a 'live' history of nursing site. 

This time we are able to report that we have been making good headway in our efforts to develop 'schoolsofnursing' into a seriously credible vehicle for contributions to our professional history.

We feel that any site worthy of attempting to present the topic with any credibility should be interactive. That the contribution of living members is the best way of widening interest. Not only by making our history available, but to do so by enabling individuals to make their own contributions - easily and quickly.

Our database of direct information about hospitals and schools of nursing existing before the universities took over nurse education enables any user to locate accurate information. it is at present limited to the 1974 'Timeline'. Other timelines are in the pipes! Meanwhile users can seek out training schools and related hospitals to 1974, many with photographs of their badge displayed; addresses and other related factual information - from geographical regions to the number of nurses trained for each qualification - existing at 1974.
All with very easy navigation - try it... (Pick a region, find a school, read the details, research a hospital using the
National Archives link.

If that seems difficult then just visit the home page (or any general page) and use the search engine! Just remember that most search engines respond better to a single (preferably geographical) name. Putting 'London' into the Google search box above will yield several results for you to sort. Useful if you are just browsing. But if you have the correct name - e.g. 'Nottingham School of Nursing' - then use it. We will be adding a 'Search Tips' section as soon as we can.

Sue Sullivan's article on nursing badge design went on-line in time for the last (July) news page. It was our first published article - well worth a read. Link.  We are now working on our promised articles about researching individual nurse history. We have conducted (practice what you preach!) our initial researches into one of the nurses listed in our January 2008 news page column entitled  Collecting... 'Nurse' History! and are now putting together the first results on the history of Mary Ellen Watkin - (St Bartholemews - London) the sixth nurse listed. On-line before Christmas...

Such histories could well become, if they are not already, Degree Course research dissertation projects... it would certainly add to the history of our profession - both Florence Nightingale and Mrs Bedford- Fenwick wanted others to become nurses - recognised that there were others in the profession. In other words, all nurses have a history - help to preserve it!
Photo Galleries
Last month we brought the news that Irish nursing badge collector Eric Wilkinson's initial photo gallery pages were now online, and that the gallery represented 'our first steps toward providing another facility which will enable collectors of nursing history to upload to their own photo galleries'. Our intention is that this will become a complete collection of nursing/hospital badge photographs - probably the only way a complete record of this major part of our history will be achieved...

Our initial photo galleries so far are the main one featuring the nursing badges already mentioned; a second (infant) gallery features PTS/student  groups. Our third gallery will feature general photographic collections about nursing/hospitals/collecting. It will be for registered members of the forum to, if they so wish, display their own photograph collections - badges, hospitals, nurses, postcards, uniforms - of whatever the collector collects!

The new news is that we are now at the first trials of this third gallery - our own user uploadable (by registered members) gallery. We can't say more than that at present. Watch this space.

Collecting - 'Collecting... Paper!'
(Part 2)... is in the left bottom column - this current issue covers collecting Practical syllabii.

Bibliography. Several new books have been added to the bibliography page - and lo! - we are starting to review some of them for a 'Book Review' Section.. Reviews and reviewers (No pay/holidays/pension) are welcome. Contact link is at the top of the page....

The site forum - Membership and Visitors - September 2008.
In January 2007 we opened the forum for business.  I new topic; 4 replies; 2 new members; and 5 unique visitors!! The current situation shows steady improvement. We now have 73 topics'; and 322 posts from 68 members. Our aim has always been to ensure quality and more importantly, 24/7 availability. Fingers crossed, we continue to achieve that aim.

Overall site visits.. Overall our unique visitor figures have increased to 2597 per month since the July news. Certainly our visitors are wide ranging - from 44 countries worldwide... Australia & New Zealand and Canada are well represented in addition to the UK and USA. There are also some more esoteric sounding countries - China; Russia; Cayman Islands; Japan; Malaysia; plus Romania and Spain.
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... Paper! (Part 2)...
Last time I said - '
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'.

I should have added that the syllabii of a nurses training is perhaps one of the most detailed records of the education and training followed one can possess.  I say 'syllabii' because to my mind there were two formal aspects. Theoretical - and practical (to say nothing of the variably variable hidden curriculum - which of course was not officially recorded!). Sometimes the former were separate documents, one for the school, one for the student. Later issues of the latter combined the two aspects as a syllabus of 'Subjects for Examination and Record of Practical Training'. The early ones are rare (so far) to find - historical gold. Later ones more than likely exist in reasonable numbers but, unless trends change, are more likely to be lost than found! Lost by default to the dustbin of history...

All were issued by the Nursing Councils to each approved school, who then issued them to their students/pupils at the commencement of training, along with an 'index number', which followed the nurse throughout training. My own collection includes several examples covering four main branches (General/Mental/Mental Subnormality/ Sick Children) - terminology of the times my examples cover - mostly from the 1960's -1970s.

Last time I also said -
'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'.

Well, maybe. But here is a piece of historical gold - and I won it on ebay so there are still a few older examples about -  the complete practical training syllabus record of Student Nurse Vera Minnie Danver-Rogers.  She commenced General Nurse training at the Royal East Sussex Hospital, Hastings on September 26th, 1941. Her record covers 23 pages of practical experience - and the signatures of the nurse, her teachers (ward sisters) and the Matron! The final entry was on 30th December 1944 - a wartime trained nurse...

What experiences must have gone between those pages....

And what of having to take the record to Matron at the end of each month?  Record your own experience - for the first two years in blue ink, for the third in red.. For the first two years Matron signed in red ink, and for the third in blue! A little definite, but perhaps the changing colours denoted an increasing recognition by the Matron of the student's progress - of the nurse becoming trustworthy, responsible....  And the use of red ink by the nurse... Well, I'm not sure...

We will be publishing a separate article on the practical syllabus of training - including readable photographic copies in the near future.
For now have a better look at those pages above - just mouse-click the images...

.   Imagine that you were Student Nurse Danver-Rogers on your first practical ward placement in 1941. Imagine that you dropped that clinical thermometer, tried to catch  - And missed it...  Forgive yourself? Matron never would....

Another Photograph from the past...This time
a nurse from Bart's Hospital London - 1919/1949

Meet Mollie


Mary Ellen Watkin - born Upton, Widnes, Lancashire on 20th September, 1887. Mollie had been a member of a VAD Detachment for 4 years before becoming a Probationer at St Bartholemew's Hospital, London on 1st August 1919. On her way to a distinguished career largely nursing wounded men from the WWII, she took the Bart's Gold Medal during training and became night superintendent; a casualty sister and sister of a surgical ward at Bart's. She retired on October 6th 1949.  Mollie is one of our nursing career studies which we will be publishing in full - this one we hope at Christmas this year.

Well, that seems yet another very pleasant note upon which to end the sixth 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 original photographs
used to produce the News Pages.

1. News heading photo (all dates) - John Reeves
2. Bristol Southmead Gold (April) -  John Reeves
3. St Bartholemew's Gold (April) - Ruth Watkin-Jones
4. Haygarth Silver (April) - 'ukhistory' (ebay)
5. Newcastle LS (April) - Peter Backman (Nursing badges)
6. RRC Medal (April)  photo's- 'Caulgisbo' (ebay)
8. 'catandfrog' (July) - (ebay).

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