In 1939 a new identity was created – that of a Registered Nursing Aide. It was thought that this nursing category would appeal to young women who might not be able to pass the examinations required to become a Registered Nurse. (M Lambie, 1951). The training period for this nursing role was initially two years.
The Wellington Hospital Board established a training programme for Nursing Aides at Silverstream Hospital in 1945. A number of Aides who trained at Silverstream Hospital would go on to embark on general nursing training at the Wellington Hospital School. Between 1949 and 1953, 36 Silverstream Hospital trained Aides entered the Wellington School: 18 completed training, becoming RGN, whilst 18 did not finish training in the general programme.
There was movement in the opposite direction too – occasional trainees in the general programme who were unable to pass all the examinations transferred to become Aides.
The period of training for Nursing Aides was reduced to eighteen months in 1949.
The Nurses and Midwives Amendment Act 1965 created a new nursing category – the registered Community Nurse. For this identity 18 months training in a School of Nursing was required.
June 1976 Community Nurse class
In 1977 a new Nurses Act was passed and this changed the Community Nurse title to registered Enrolled Nurse, and the training period was further reduced to one year.
Training for both General Nurses and Community/Enrolled Nurses was provided by the Wellington Hospital Board at both Wellington Hospital and Hutt Hospital.