Historical information

Sister Rignall is undergoing In-service education at RDNS and is wearing the grey RDNS uniform of that era.

Significance

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 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 nurses receiving In-service education. Sr. 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 trained nurses 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.

Physical description

Black and white photograph showing Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Sister J. Rignall using the Library facilities at RDNS. Sister Rignall has short curly hair and is wearing her short sleeve grey uniform frock; the RDNS insignia is seen at the top of her left sleeve. She is standing and looking down at a book she is holding. Shelves of library books are seen running behind her on her left hand side.

Inscriptions & markings

Photographers Stamp and Quote No. GW 94