Historical information

This photograph shows Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Sister (Sr.) Moira Coates doing Liaison work at St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne. Miss C. Healy is St. Vincent's Home Care Supervisor and she and Sr. Coates are discussing plans with Miss E. Monks for the future care she requires following her discharge from hospital. Sr. Coates is wearing the RDNS uniform of a royal blue dress with white piping around the peaks of the collar. An RDNS logo is on its upper left. She is wearing a darker blue jacket.


Liaison had occurred between Doctors and the the Trained nurses (Nurses) of the Melbourne District Nursing Society (MDNS), from its inception in 1885. This increased when Midwifery was introduced in August 1893 with close liaising with the Women’s Hospital. As District nursing grew it was recognized that closer liaising between many Public Hospitals would be beneficial, for not only the MDNS, later called Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), Trained nurses (Sisters), but also for the patients and the hospitals. In August 1964 a Liaison Officer commenced at the Alfred Hospital. This soon increased to Liaison Officers working full time at several Public Hospitals. They facilitated the smooth transition from hospital to home for many patients who required ongoing nursing care. Liaison Sisters regularly attended discharge planning meetings, interviewed prospective patients, co-ordinated discharge and booked the first visit by the visiting RDNS Sister. At the time of a patient’s discharge, the Liaison Sister forwarded information on their diagnosis and instructions regarding the care required at home to the appropriate RDNS Centre, and in turn the attending District Sister wrote a report of progress and any queries to the Hospital Doctor, via the Liaison Sister, at the time the patient was attending outpatients. Any new instructions were then sent back to the District Sister. Liaising also occurred between District Sisters and Doctors when patients were referred by General Practitioners and did not attend a hospital.

Physical description

In the left foreground of this black and white photograph is Miss C. Healy who has collar length dark hair and is wearing a hospital uniform dark cardigan over a white blouse and dark skirt. She is sitting on a kitchen style chair and has an open folder; a pen in her right hand is poised over a white sheet of paper. She is smiling and looking to her left at Miss E. Monks who is resting in a bed in front of her. Standing to her right, and at the head of the bed, is RDNS Sister Moira Coates who has short dark hair. and is wearing a dark jacket over a dark colour dress with white piping on the collar peaks. Her identity card is clipped on the right hand pocket. She is smiling at Miss Monks and has her left hand on an RDNS leaflet which Miss Monks is holding. To her right is Miss Monk who has short dark hair and wearing a light coloured nightdress. She sitting up supported against pillows on a hospital bed which has the top section raised. She is looking at the RDNS folded leaflet; two photographs and writing can be seen on the front cover. White bedclothes cover most of Miss Monks body. Drawn curtains are seen in the left rear of the photograph and some switches and a name card are seen behind the bed.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton. LJ93 and names