Historical information

This photograph is taken in a Hospital ward and shows a meeting between a patient, an RDNS Liaison Sister; and the Hospital staff, L-R, a Doctor, a Physiotherapist, a Social Worker and an Occupational Therapist. The group are discussing with the patient the ongoing care she will require when shes goes home. The Sister. has an RDNS information leaflet open in her hands which will be given to the lady. From those present, the Sister is ready to write, on the clipboard, any information required to be passed to the RDNS District Sister to carry out the nursing care needed when the lady goes home. The Sister is wearing the RDNS winter uniform of a light blue.grey skivvie under a darker blue/grey V neck tunic style dress made from herringbone winter material.


Liaison had occurred between doctors and 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 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, coordinated 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

On the left of this black and white photograph is a Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Sister who is seated and has her curly dark hair head, turned to her left looking at a lady who is resting in a hospital bed. The Sister, who is wearing a light grey skivvie under a darker V neck tunic style dress, is holding an open folded page with typed writing seen, in her hands; a pen is sitting between the fingers of her right hand and a clipboard is on the bed. The elderly lady, to her right, is sitting propped up against white pillows on her hospital bed and is looking, and smiling, at the Sister. She is wearing glasses; has curly grey hair; and is wearing a light coloured nightdress. The light coloured bedclothes cover most of her body. On the right of the bed, and from its head down, L-R is:a man who is standing; he has short dark hair and is wearing a leather type jacket over a dark skivvie and plaid trousers. Next, sitting, is a lady who has short slightly waved dark hair; she is wearing a grey round neck sleeveless frock over a light coloured long sleeve blouse. Next, seated, is a male who has short dark hair and a short dark beard.He is wearing a dark grey suit jacket over a light grey shirt and patterned tie. Next, on the far right, standing, is a lady who has curly dark hair and is wearing a hospital white coat over a light coloured skivvie. A Hydronic heater is attached to the lower part of the wall behind the bed and a monkey bar is attached to the centre of the bed. Some flowers are also seen behind the bed and a drawn curtain is behind the staff on the right hand side of the photograph.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton LO12