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FOCUS: The 12 rules of being a Jersey nurse...nearly 100 years ago

FOCUS: The 12 rules of being a Jersey nurse...nearly 100 years ago

Friday 10 May 2024

FOCUS: The 12 rules of being a Jersey nurse...nearly 100 years ago

Friday 10 May 2024

From old rules governing when nurses could have breakfast in bed, to advances in medical equipment and training through technology, an exhibition celebrating local nursing education has showcased how the profession has evolved in the last 100 years.

Health and Community Services' Education Centre has created an exhibition to celebrate the fact that nurses have been able to train in Jersey for a century.

In 1924, the General Nursing Council officially recognised the island's General Hospital as a place for them to do so.


Pictured: An exhibition has been created by the HCS education centre celebrating 100 years of local nursing education.

The display includes news cuttings, medical equipment as well as a number of textbooks and documents showcasing how the profession – and the education available alongside it – has evolved throughout the last century.

A "reasonable" number of flowers?

Among the items on display is a book of rules and regulations for those working in Jersey's General Hospital in 1932, which contains a section for nurses.

It includes rules around when nurses could have breakfast in bed, as well as the number of flowers and plants they could keep in their rooms.


Pictured: Rules for staff nurses in 1932 included regulations around the number of flowers permitted in a room, and when breakfast in bed was acceptable.

The profession has changed significantly since then, but in some ways has remained the same – as Dr Hazel McWhinnie, Head of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional Education, explained.

"In the last 100 years so many nurses have come though the doors of the education centre here and we are still in a position where we are offering training," she said.

"One of the key changes is that nursing is now a degree profession, so our students have to study for an academic degree at the same time as studying on the wards and learning how to be a nurse."


Pictured: Dr Hazel McWhinnie, Head of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional Education.

Dr McWhinnie continued: "There are certain things that haven't changed – we would still look for someone who is caring, compassionate, a good communicator and calm under pressure. Things like that will never change.

"One of the huge things that has changed is our access to learning. We have a library here in the Hospital, which is great, but a huge amount of resources are online now."

A profession that has "a real impact" on islanders' lives

She added that she hoped the exhibition would highlight the "good work" of the education centre.

"We are training people to become nurses, to care for islanders," said Dr McWhinnie.

"Students can do that completely on-island, complete their whole degree without ever having to leave, and can make a real impact on peoples' lives."


Pictured: Lynne Cook, who started training as a nurse in 1968, described the profession as "the best job" and encouraged young islanders to consider it.

Lynne Cook, who started training as a nurse in 1968, agreed that access to digital learning and educational resources had grown significantly over the years.

She said: "The introduction of technology has made a tremendous change in nursing, even down to the training and research. I am slowly getting rid of all my old beautiful textbooks – you used to spend almost a month's wages on them!"

She also noted that medical equipment had evolved substantially since she began her career.

"Everything is single use [now]. We used to have to re-use and sterilise things."

The "best job"

Reflecting on her career, Ms Cook added that: "I had my time again, I would train as a nurse."

She explained: "I encourage young people who are thinking about it or are not sure [to do it].

"A lot of young people these days are quite money focused and want to go into a job where they are going to be earning good money straight away – so you wouldn't consider nursing, but honestly it's the best job."


Pictured: Willow Le Luan said she was in a "privileged" position to be able to train and be educated locally as a student nurse.

Third-year student nurse Willow Le Luan said: "I'm very privileged to be in the position I am in terms of living on a small and beautiful island, training locally and having such fantastic support from all of my tutors.

"You get a lot more supervision, a lot more support  I don't imagine that any of the nurses who did their training back in the 1930s had anything similar."

She also encouraged islanders interested in nursing to "go for it".

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