Norland’s history in 13 objects: one of the first testimonials books

Norland training in 1892 was made up of three terms, each of three months duration, in the Institute, in a hospital and with a family.  

The first term of studies at Norland included “Hygiene, Needlework, useful Nursery Knowledge and instruction in the training of the character and intellect on Froebelian Principles”. Entries by Emily Ward note how well each nurse has worked at each subject, which range from sewing to cooking, natural history and teaching through to singing and storytelling, as well as professional skills such as punctuality, neatness, tact and temper. There is an overall entry for general capability.  

While on placement, probationers would gain practice in “the handling of children, attending to small ailments, and noticing signs of illness”. While with a family, the Probationer “brings her knowledge to the test of private family life and learns how to adapt what she knows to special and individual cases”.  

At the end of her first term of training on 17 December 1892, Christine Tisdall’s aptitude for each subject is noted by Emily Ward as “good” or “very good” with her overall capability given as “good”. On 10 April 1893, Christine Tisdall receives competency reports ranging from “very fair” to “excellent” from the matron overseeing her second term of training, which was a placement at the Children’s Convalescent Hospital in Bushey Heath. The testimonial from her third term on a family placement in Brunswick Gardens, dated 20 November 1893, ranges from “fair” to “very good” with strengths in cleanliness, temper and tact. Her general capability has progressed to “very good”. The satisfactory completion of her training leads to Christine Tisdall’s certification as a Norland Nurse on 7 December 1893. 

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