| Suggestion for a Secondary School
| 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.
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.
| 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.
| 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
| 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.