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 Suggestion for a Secondary School Assembly

  I wonder whether you can guess what sort of work someone was hoping to do if she thought that she could go on a training course where she was expected to have these qualities. She would have to be sober, honest, truthful, trustworthy, punctual, quiet and orderly, cleanly and neat.
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You will notice that I said 'she' because the kind of work for which those qualities were required in the 1860s was thought, in those days, to be work for women.

  Does that give you any clue as to what the work was?
It was nursing. And those were the qualities demanded in women who were going to train to be nurses at a famous training school opened in 1860.

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Kaiserworth   In fact the first recruits started their course on 24 June. So this is the anniversary of the opening of that training school.

It was opened in London and was attached to St.Thomas's Hospital. But it was called the Nightingale Training School for Nurses.

  I wonder whether you know anything about the person it was named after. It was Florence Nightingale who had become famous for her work in organising the care of British soldiers wounded in the Crimean War. People were so impressed by what she had done that they gave a great deal of money, £44,000, to show their appreciation. Florence Nightingale herself insisted that the money must be used for the proper training of nurses.

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Kaiserworth   Many people regard the Nightingale Training School as the first formally-organised and really professional training school for nurses in the world. Nurses learnt 'on the job', that is working in the hospital wards, but they also had lectures relating to their work, and they were expected to attend Bible classes and Music classes. They had time each week to extend their education by reading.

  In the half century after the Nightingale School was founded, standards of nurse training developed in hospitals throughout Britain and abroad. In 1919 nursing in Britain was recognised as a profession in which high standards of training were important when the system of State Registration was introduced.
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Kaiserworth   Today nurses need the same personal qualities as the Nightingale nurses needed: they need to be sober, honest, truthful, trustworthy, punctual, quiet and orderly, cleanly and neat. But they also need high standards of education before they are accepted for training. Like trainee teachers, they study at University level as well as gaining practical experience. Some trainee nurses work for University degrees but most work for a Diploma in Higher Education, roughly two thirds of a degree.

If you have ever been in hospital, or if at some time in the future you spend time in hospital, you will be very grateful for the skills and understanding that nurses have. We should all be grateful that there are people - men as well as women nowadays - who have these personal qualities and who work hard to gain qualifications and who are ready to use their skills for the benefit of others.
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