Topic: Nursing

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In 1914 nurses were young, single and untrained. They made beds, fed and washed patients. Today’s nurses are highly trained, often specialising, and do many tasks that were previously done by doctors.

Julie Robinson, Director of Nursing

Trained 1971

Training of nurses has come a long way even since the early 1970’s, says Julie. “The scope of practise for nurses is broad, training has improved and nurses can choose to specialise in a certain area,” she says.

“There have been many changes in the way nurses are trained and patients are treated. In my day we learnt on the job over three years and attended block classes. However we didn’t get to apply the theory in practise on a patient at the same time. So you might have learnt about how to treat a patient with diabetes a year before you actually nursed one and you’d have to try and remember. Now theory and practise are more integrated,” she says.

The way patients were treated has changed significantly as well, Julie says. “When I was in training the lights would go on at 5am every morning in every ward and all patients would be bathed, showered and shaved, fed breakfast, hair done, sitting up in bed ready for the doctor and his entourage to do his rounds between 9-9.30am. No lounging about! Now it is less formal and that sort of thing doesn’t happen. The care is patient-centred which is quite a change compared to the previous military-style way of life that hospitals inherited.

“It’s evolution. As technology and research forge ahead so too do changes in training and nursing practise. When I started my training it was very unusual for nurses to insert IV lines and now it’s a general skill. Doctors are doing things they never used to do and nurses are expanding their practise as they step up,” Julie says.

“We had one fearsome night supervisor when I was a student nurse on night shift…if you weren’t working you were only allowed to do a crossword or read a text book.” 

 Nurse Hart at Tauranga Hospital 1933 Nurse Hart

Nurse Hart at Tauranga Hospital 1933

Tauranga Hospital Staff 1946 

Tauranga Hospital Staff 1946. Second row Dr Sligo, Medical Superintendent; Miss Jenkins, Matron and Dr Shaw 


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