From the beginnings of the Wellington Hospital School of Nursing the Medical Superintendent worked alongside the Matron to provide tuition to student nurses.  From 1903, the Medical Superintendent was assisted by one or more house surgeons.  This system worked fairly well but there was a noteworthy change from 1936.

In that year, Dr John Cairney arrived in Wellington, having been in earlier years associate professor of anatomy at the Otago University Medical School.  He was initially appointed Assistant Superintendent 1936 - 1940), a positioned renamed Director of Medical Services during his tenure.  He became Medical Superintendent in 1940 and Superintendent in Chief, Wellington Hospital Board 1944 - 1949).  He was the first anatomist to teach at the Wellington School of Nursing, and he brought with him some of the Medical School traditions, including the wearing of a gown during lectures that he gave.  He continued to be involved in the Nursing School until he left to become Director General of Health in 1949.

When Alan ("Joe") Pullar was appointed Resident Surgeon in 1948, he took over the responsibility of delivering lectures in anatomy to the student nurses.

Lectures in Medicine for nurses were, from 1946 given by Dr J Verney Cable, Resident Physician who had been Assistant Professor of Medicine in Otago 1941 - 1942 and was subsequently away on military service during WW2.

Dr Cable lecturing to student nurses in 1948

The contributions of Drs Cairney and Cable to nursing education were immense.  Both produced textbooks for nurses which saw several editions.














    Dr Cable preparing a new edition of his book


After their respective retirements, senior medical staff were involved in the School of Nursing to a lesser extent, though individual specialist physicians and surgeons gave lectures in their specialist subjects.  From the late 1960s there was a move to increasing contributions from nursing tutors.

Last updated 27 December 2019.