Historical information

The photograph is taken in the RDNS Education Department at 448 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne. Mrs. Gerardi and Mr. J. Psaros are Telephone interpreters. Sr. E. Comb is learning, by role play, how best to communicate with people who have limited understanding of English. The other Sisters are observing the role play. One Sister is wearing the RDNS winter uniform of a dark blue cardigan over a light blue/grey skivvie and V neck tunic style frock made of blue/grey herringbone winter material. Sr. Perillo is wearing the RDNS summer uniform of a short sleeve white blouse under a royal blue V neck tunic style frock. The RDNS logo is seen on the upper left of the frock. The other uniforms are a royal blue dress with white piping around collars.


The Trained nurses (Nurses) of the Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), later known as 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. The RDNS Trained nurses (Sisters) visited patients from many different cultural backgrounds, and Education was given to their Sisters to assist them when speaking with the patients and giving them care. 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 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

In the left foreground of this black and white photograph is a side-on view of Mrs. G, Gerardi, who is wearing glasses; has dark curly hair, and is wearing a black and grey vertically striped dress. She is sitting on a chair in front of a group of RDNS Sisters sitting at small rectangular tables which are butted together. Slightly to her left rear sits Mr. J. Psaros, who has short thick dark hair; is wearing a black leather type jacket, black trousers, white shirt and dark tie. He is looking at Mrs. Gerardi. To his left sits Sister (Sr.) E. Comb, who has short dark hair and is wearing a uniform dark cardigan over a dark dress with white piping on the collar. She is facing the group and looking at Mrs. Gerardi. In the centre of the photograph is the first of the seven RDNS Sisters at tables, five in the front, and two partly hidden in the row behind; they are also looking at Mrs. Gerardi. This Sister has curly dark hair and is wearing day clothes of dark slacks and a dark top, with white circle logo, over a white blouse the peaks of which are seen. The Sister. to her right has short straight dark hair and is wearing a dark cardigan over a light grey skivvie and V neck tunic style frock. The name on a card in front of her is indistinguishable, but 'Footscray' is seen. The next, Sr. Arrisa Perillo, has short curly dark hair and is wearing a short sleeve white blouse under a dark V neck tunic style dress. Her name and the word 'Footscray' is on a card in front of her. The next Sr. has short blonde curly hair and is wearing a dark cardigan over a dark dress with white piping around the peaks of the collar. The next the Sister is partly hidden. Her name is written on a card in front of her, this is indistinguishable except for the word 'Caulfield'. A large dark handbag with light colour motif on it, sits on the light colour carpet under the front section of Sr. Perillo's table. In the background are five windows with open Venetian blinds.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton. Quote LJ60