1888 - 1904
It is unclear where probationer nurses received lectures prior to 1888. In July of that year a new two storied block was opened, situated at the western end of the main hospital corridor and extending to the north.
On the upper floor was accommodation for 20 nurses. On the ground floor were two small wards for children, a matron’s room, a nurses’ dining room, an out-patient surgery, a dispensary and an outpatients waiting room measuring 23ft x 16ft, which also served as a lecture room when the outpatient service was not operating. It is very likely that this lecture room was used to instruct trainee nurses.
1904 - 1928
With the opening of the Nurses’ Home
in October 1904, they had for the first time a purpose-built lecture room at the southern end of the first floor of the Home, measuring 40ft x 25ft and equipped with desks and chairs.
Pictured here in the lecture room is Katherine (Kay) Mackersey who was a student nurse from 1922-1925.
In 1925, the last year of Kate's training, a slide lantern was installed in the lecture room.
1928 – 1944 Preliminary School
A system of 4-6 weeks preliminary training of new entrants was introduced in 1928 after the arrival from England of the School’s first permanent tutor. The Preliminary School was, for a short time, housed in one of the Seddon Shelters (initially intended for housing infectious disease patients). Soon the Preliminary School moved into a one-storey wooden building to the south of the Victoria Wards.
(This building had been occupied by the Massage Department from 1922-1928 before they moved to the newly-opened Front Block).
1944 - 1973
As the number of new probationers increased, this building became inadequate. In 1944 the newly-built 210-block was opened.
In one of the three wings on the ground floor, was the new Preliminary School. This contained a large tiered lecture room,
a large demonstration and practice room, and a library and study area.
The new school served the needs of new entrants for the next 29 years and would have done so longer but for competing interests.
1973 – 1982
Major rebuilding of the hospital was underway in the 1970s resulting in dislocation of a number of clinical areas. One service that required relocation was the ENT department and ward. It was decided that ENT services would move to the 210-block thus displacing the Preliminary School. “Temporary” accommodation for the Preliminary School was found on the top floor of Mertex House, in Adelaide Road, alongside the Splints Workshop.
The school would remain there until the last class completed their preliminary training in 1982.
1928 – 1939 Senior School
The Front Block which opened in 1928,
provided (on the first floor) a tiered lecture room plus study rooms and a library for trainees who had completed Preliminary School examinations.
- below are plans of a larger area of the Front Block giving context to the above
The growing number of nurse trainees meant that by the late 1930s the front block facilities were inadequate.
1939 – 1974
A new Senior School opened in 1939, on the second floor of a new block containing on the lower floors the hospital kitchen and dining rooms. The teaching areas included three lecture rooms, two of which were separated by foldaway doors enabling conversion to a large lecture room. A study / Library and a demonstration room were included.
1974 - 1980
The above facilities remained in operation until 1974 when major hospital re-building required their demolition. A grand new school of nursing in the yet-to-be-built Link Block was planned, so interim arrangements became necessary.
In front of No. 2 Nurses Home, two prefab buildings were erected and the adjacent floors of the nurses’ home were used for tutorial offices and a library. By 1977 an additional prefab was required. In the aerial photograph below, the three prefabs can be seen at the bottom left of the shot, and there is evidence of the major hospital rebuilding programme also.
1980 - 1992
With the commissioning of the Link Block in 1980, came the opening of a large new School of Nursing on the 8th floor. Included was a very large lecture theatre.
However, by then the writing was on the wall that hospital-based training of nurses would soon cease. The last class of student nurses for the 3-year general training course commenced in 1982 and graduated in 1985. Classes for Enrolled Nurses continued but were largely based at Hutt Hospital.
The 8th floor facilities were to become a centre for post-basic nurse training.
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