Historical information

The photograph is taken in the Physiotherapy Department at Mount Royal Hospital. RDNS Sr. Sue Revill is from RDNS Moorabbin Centre and Sr. Helen Watt is from Footscray Centre, They are attending an Education session on Rehabilitation at Mount Royal. Hospital. They are wearing the RDNS winter uniform of a blue/grey skivvie under a V neck tunic style herringbone winter material dress with the RDNS insignia emblazoned on its upper left.


Education was an integral part of Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), from its inception in 1885, later, in 1966, called Royal District Nursing Service, (RDNS). From 1885, only Trained Nurses (Nurses) who trained through the Hospital training system were employed by the Society, and on visits to patients they taught the necessity of hygiene and cleanliness, as well as the need for a good diet, to bring about good health. Doctor’s lectures were later given at the MDNS home to instruct patients and their families on prevention of disease. Education to patients continued throughout the years regarding health care and the use of equipment in the home. In 1961, Education programs commenced at MDNS with their Trained nurses (Sisters) receiving In-service education. Sister Pat (Paddy) Rowley was a leader in this In-service Education and established the MDNS, later called RDNS, Department of Community Nursing Education in 1962. Staff could also apply for scholarships to further their education outside of RDNS. Many of their senior Sisters received Postgraduate diplomas from the College of Nursing in Community Health Nursing, Education, and Administration, and several travelled overseas visiting nursing organizations viewing their public health and district nursing systems. Many programs were run at RDNS, including: a Post Basic Course, Cardiac Rehabilitation Nursing, Haematology/Oncology Nursing, Palliative Care program, Diabetic Stabilization Program, Leg Ulcer Management Program, Wound Care Specialist Program, HIV/AIDS Nursing Care, Cystic Fibrosis Home Support, Veterans Home Care Program, Breast Cancer Support Program, Continence Management Program, Stomal Therapy Program, In-Home Lactation Support Program and the Homeless Persons Program. RDNS staff attended several hospitals to observe and learn special care needed to some clients, e.g. to the Austin Hospital to learn the care required for paraplegic and quadriplegic clients at home, and to Mount Royal Hospital to observe the care of clients in the Rehabilitation ward. A Community Nursing Education Program was extended to Student nurses from Hospitals and to other nursing organizations. These Education programs kept the RDNS Sisters abreast of new techniques, such as changes in technology for e.g. new testing methods in detecting glucose levels in Diabetic patients. Sr. Nan Deakin did a Post Basic Course in Psychiatric Nursing and included this area in her education lectures. Sr. Daphne Geldard specialized in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. These Sisters visited patients in District areas with the regular RDNS Sister when required. Every member of staff, both professional and non professional staff, received regular education in the Education Department. In 1980, a Home Health Aide pilot study, funded by the Federal Government, the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and RDNS, with the program written and taught by Sr. Rowley, was evaluated as successful, and Home Health Aides were employed and worked in RDNS Centres under the supervision of the RDNS Registered Nurses.

Physical description

Black and white photograph depicting, on the left, a side-on view of a Hospital Physiotherapist with her long hair drawn back in a pony tail, and wearing a grey V neck dress over a white blouse and a dark cardigan who is facing right. She has her left hand on the arm of a standing lady and her right hand on the lady's hand which is on a walking rail. To the right rear of the Physiotherapist is Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Sister Sue Revill who has shoulder length dark hair and is looking at the lady. To her right the elderly lady who is wearing glasses; has wavy white hair and is wearing a light grey frock, is standing in front of a wheelchair with her right hand on the walking rail. Her left arm hangs loosely by her side. To her right is a walking rail and standing to its right is Sr. Helen Watt who is looking towards the lady. She has short dark wavy hair, and has her right arm around the back of the lady and her left hand is on the walking rail. In the background of the photograph, the lower section of several 4 prong walking stick are seen hanging on the wall.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton photographer's stamp. Quote KY 78