Under the terms of the Nurses Registration Act, nurses holding three-year Hospital certificates were able to obtain registration without further examination, provided they registered by June 1902. Seventy-five such nurses who had trained at Wellington Hospital obtained registration. The first of these to appear on the Register was Wellington Hospital-trained Ellen Dougherty.

Matron Payne and Dr Ewart continued to provide the instruction of nurse trainees though from 1903 the Hospital’s first resident house surgeon, Dr James Elliott joined the team. The number of house surgeons gradually increased and all became involved in providing lectures to nurses.

From 1910 the Assistant Matron, Miss Sarah Hetherington relieved some of the load hitherto carried by Miss Payne alone. For the remainder of this period subsequent assistant matrons contributed to nurse training.  One of these was Blanche Clark who was briefly designated Tutor Sister in 1926-1927.

Dr Ewart was a champion of high standards of surgery and in no small measure this required an informed and skilled nursing staff. From 1908 the Theatre Sister became part of the teaching establishment.

Similarly, invalid cooking was part of the curriculum and from 1915 tuition was provided by Miss Rennie, the ‘cooking instructress’.

It is noteworthy that in the early years of the State Final examination, Wellington Hospital trainees did well. Between 1903 and 1924, 409 passed State Finals and on thirteen occasions a Wellington Trainee topped the exam results nationally.


The remainder of the story of the School of Nursing will be covered under section headings describing the various elements that made up the School, rather than as a chronological narrative
Last updated 10 February 2019.