Historical information

This photograph shows a Melbourne District Nursing Service (MDNS) Sister is visiting the lady in her own home and is giving medication in the form of an injection which has been ordered by a Doctor. The Sisters is wearing her grey cotton uniform frock under her white gown and her grey peaked hat.


The Trained nurses (Nurses) of the Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), later known as Melbourne District Nursing Service and from 1966 Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), visited patients in their home and gave best practice care in many fields of nursing, and to people of many cultures, throughout its 130 years of expansion. Initial visits not only assessed the specific nursing situation but the situation as a whole. Their patients ranged in age from babes, children, adults to the elderly and referrals were taken from Hospitals, General Practitioners and allied Health facilities. Some of the care the Trained nurses (Sisters) provided is as follows: – Post-Natal care given to mother and babe, Wound Care following various types of surgery, accidents, burns, cancer, leg ulcers etc. Supervising and teaching Diabetic Care, including teaching and supervising people with Diabetes to administer their own Insulin, and administering Insulin to those unable to give their own injections. Administering other injections and setting up weekly medication boxes. The Sisters performed Catheterizations on adults suffering from conditions such as Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Guillan-Barre Syndrome, and when required at school on children for e.g. those with Spina Bifida. The Sisters visited those requiring Cystic Fibrosis support and care; those requiring Haemo-Oncology care, including visiting children at school; those requiring Home Enteral Feeding care, and those requiring IV therapy at home and home Dialysis. Palliative Care was given including pain relief with the use of syringe drivers, personal care as needed, and advice and support to both patient and family. The Sisters provided Stoma management to those needing Urostomy, Ileostomy and Colostomy care and those requiring Continence care. HIV/AIDS nursing care was provided; visits to Homeless Persons were made. Personal care was given to patients ranging in age and with varying mobility problems, such as those with MS, MND, Guillan-Barre Syndrome, Poliomyelitis, Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Acquired Brain Injury, to those following a Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke), those with severe Arthritis and those with a form of Dementia. When necessary the elderly were assisted with personal care and advice given on safety factors with the use of hand rails, bath or shower seats, and hand showers. Rehabilitation with an aim towards independence remained at the forefront of the Sister’s minds and when possible using aids and instruction on safe techniques enabled the person to become fully independent. All care included giving advice and support to the patient and their Carers. The Sisters liaised with the persons Doctor, Hospital and allied Health personal when necessary.

Physical description

Black and white photograph showing a Melbourne District Nursing Service (MDNS), Sister on the left of the photograph giving an injection into the upper right arm of a lady. On the right of the photograph is an elderly lady who is sitting on a chair, she has white short curly hair; is wearing glasses and wearing a black and white patterned dress. Her head is turned to her right and she is smiling at the Sister.as she holds up the sleeve of her dress with her left hand. The MDNS Sister, who is wearing her uniform peaked grey hat over her short blond hair and wearing a white gown over her grey uniform with peaks just seen, is smiling at the lady. In both hands she.is holding a glass and metal syringe; the needle is inserted in the lady's arm.

Inscriptions & markings

Photographer stamp