Historical information

Sister Watt is an RDNS Liaison Officer and has assisted a hospital employee to transfer a patient into a car. The lady will be attended by RDNS District Sisters when she returns to her home.


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 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

On the left of this black and white photograph is the side-on view of a lady who has short curled hair and is wearing a white hospital coat over a dark skivvie and dark slacks. She is standing against the inside of the open passenger door of a grey car and is holding the removed arm of a wheelchair in her hands. She is looking down at a lady who is sitting in the passenger seat of the car. The lady, who has short curly dark hair, has her head turned to her left and is smiling. She is wearing a grey and black patterned frock. A wheelchair is in front of the opening of the door with the seat, which has a sheepskin on it, close to the car seat and the back of the chair to its right. Sister Helen Watt of the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) is standing side-on behind the chair and is holding its handles; her legs are placed between its large wheels. Sr. Watt has curled dark hair and is wearing a light grey skivvie over a darker grey V neck tunic style frock. Only a small section of her face can be seen; she is smiling and looking down at the lady. In the background, part of a brick building with a white framed, open curtained window can be seen.

Inscriptions & markings

Barry Sutton LO 34