Historical information

This photograph is taken in the Physiotherapy Department at Mount Royal Rehabilitation Hospital. The Physiotherapist is giving an Education session to RDNS Sisters.
The Sisters are wearing the RDNS winter uniform, which was a blue/grey herringbone winter material V neck tunic style frock over a blue/grey skivvie. Sr. Peter is wearing the uniform beret style hat which was made of the herringbone winter material.


Education was an integral part of Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), from its inception in 1885, later, in 1966, called Royal 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. 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 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 showing Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Sisters observing in a Physiotherapy Department. Left to right - Sisters Judy Peter, who is wearing her uniform beret over her light coloured curly hair, and kneeling and leaning over, with her right hand resting on a white pillow which is on a large thick mat. Next is Sr. Sue Revill, who has dark shoulder length curled hair and is kneeling behind a lady who is lying on her left side on a the mat which is on the floor. She has her head on a white pillow and facing frontward. She has light coloured curled hair and is wearing a dark grey long sleeve top. Next is the Physiotherapist, who has long dark hair drawn back in a pony tail and is wearing a dark cardigan over a white blouse and grey frock. She is kneeling on the mat with her hands on the lady's side. Sister Helen Watt, who has collar length curled hair is kneeling to her right and is holding the lady's outstretched right arm and hand and looking toward the Physiotherapist. The Sisters are wearing the RDNS uniform of a light grey skivvie under a V neck tunic style dress with the RDNS insignia on the upper left. In the background are some some vertical bars attached to the wall and part of a pillow can be seen in front of these on the large mat. On the right of the photograph is a heater and above this windows are seen.

Inscriptions & markings

Photographer stamp. Quote No. KY 82