Nurse Education in Worcester

Following the path from Worcester Royal Infirmary (Castle Street & Ronkswood Hospital) to the University of Worcester

1874 Training schemes were introduced in the Worcester Infirmary. Miss Mary Herbert, Matron at Worcester from 1894 to 1917, a graduate of the Nightingale School of Nursing, St Thomas's Hospital, London improved training and nursing standards.

1895 The hospital offered a two-year training programme including lectures and a hospital certificate if successful. Probationers paid 10 guineas for their training.

1907 Miss Herbert was interviewed by a Nursing Mirror reporter and she then stated a three-year course was in operation. As the then Nurses' Home (Mulberry House) had opened in 1897 it is likely any lectures were held there

1919 A National Register of qualified nurses was established, administered by the G.N.C.

1938 A three-year curriculum was in place.

When the new Nurses' Home was opened in 1932, the School of Nursing was included. Marjorie Tarran (Trained 1941-1944) described one room in the basement forming a combined classroom and practical room. Later a second room was found for the practical room which also housed the library.

In W.W.2 a room in the hospital, formerly the Coroners Meeting Room, became Battenhall ward for male trauma and orthopaedic patients. These patients were moved in 1953 to Bonaker ward and Battenhall was allocated to the Teaching Department, so in 1954 became the practical classroom.

Other changes followed: - Previous practical room became a lecture room and previous lecture room became the Preliminary Training School (PTS) room. The old small P.T.S. room on the ground floor became a study with 8 desks, bones and bandages!

In 1963 the Worcester Royal Infirmary Education Department moved to Ronkswood on to a site opposite the Maternity Unit, and included a Pupil Assistant Nurse School which had been in operation since 1957. (Later the "Assistant" was removed and the qualification was State Enrolled Nurse)

Training for men was approved by the General Nursing Council (GNC) after their inspection in 1961 and in 1963 three male students started their training. John Perks started the 3yr State Registered Nurse training programme (for SRN qualification) in February. Tony Cox and Peter Kimberley were Registered Mental Nurses (RMN) and commenced the shortened SRN 18 month programme in October.

In 1965 Battenhall was given up. Thus all classrooms and equipment were in the same area at Ronkswood

The accommodation became insufficient for requirements and in 1968 an extension was planned, still awaited in 1971 but eventually built as the population of staff and students increased to match the changes in nurse education

The name changed from Worcester Royal Infirmary School of Nursing to South Worcestershire School of Nursing. Then in 1974 as other schools became involved it became Worcester District School of Nursing. The Mental Health School (R.M.N. training) had moved from Powick to Ronkswood.

In 1990 Worcester, Hereford, Mid Worcestershire and Kidderminster were then included under the title "Hereford and Worcestershire College of Nursing and Midwifery". Students remained in their own areas but teaching staff did some exchanges.

Finally in 1995 the Hereford and Worcestershire College of Nursing and Midwifery merged with Worcester College of Higher Education (now University of Worcester)

1996 saw 60 students commence their nurse training which would lead to Registered General Nurse (RGN) with Diploma in Higher Education.

About the Article and Author

This article has been reproduced here with the kind permission of the author, Mrs. Muriel Clayson, who is a member of the Worcester Royal Infirmary Nurses League.

This Information was sourced from WRINL magazines and Muriel Clayson's personal experience as a Registered Clinical Nurse Tutor at WRI (1968 - 1994).

Additional information about the commencement of male student training provided by Rona Mackenzie (WRI trained 1963-66).

Further information from: Time to care - nursing through the ages, Jane Adams and Carol Bowsher.

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