Historical information

Miss Wright is the Education Director of Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) and is giving a lecture to the RDNS staff. Two of the RDNS Sisters are wearing their summer uniform which was a royal blue V necked tunic style frock, with the RDNS badge emblazoned on the upper left hand side, over a short sleeved white blouse. Three of the Sisters are wearing their winter uniform of a blue/grey skivvy under a blue/grey herringbone V neck tunic style winter material dress.


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), 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 In-service Education and established the 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 graduated from the College of Nursing in Community Health, Education and Administration and several travelled overseas visiting nursing organizations viewing their public health and district nursing systems. At RDNS many programs were run, 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 Sisters

Physical description

Black and white photograph showing Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Miss Ora Wright seated at a table in discussion amid a group of nine RDNS Educators, Physiotherapists and Clerical staff. Miss Wright has short light coloured hair and has her head turned to her right. She is wearing a long necklace of mixed coloured beads over a light coloured top. Three of the staff are standing behind the seated group. Three staff are seated either side of Miss Wright. Two of the RDNS Educators are wearing white short sleeve blouses under a V neck tunic style dress and the other three are wearing a light coloured skivvy under a V neck grey tunic style dress. The RDNS insignia on a white background can be seen on the upper left of each RDNS uniforms. A blackboard full of white writing can be seen in the left rear of the photograph and several tables joined together are in the foreground. Two books and several sheets of white paper are in front of the seated staff.

Inscriptions & markings

Photographer stamp. Quote No. DR 12