Among the many changes
in nursing since 1948, the departure of matrons from our hospitals
is one which was pioneered in Glasgow. In the 1960s Miss Anne Court-Brown,
Matron of the Royal Infirmary, introduced the first pilot scheme
under which grades (related to actual duties carried out) replaced
the old hierarchy with matron at the top.
As healthcare has become ever more scientific
and technical, the work of nurses has changed enormously. Nurse
training based on hands-on experience in the hospitals
has gradually been replaced by theoretical nurse education based
in colleges and universities. An important early experiment in nurse
education was carried out in Glasgow.
In 1957, Miss Edith Manners launched the Glasgow
Royal Infirmary experimental course of training for nurses. The
course was designed so that the students could sit State Registration
examinations after only two years - one year shorter than the normal
course. The students spent less time in hospital wards and did less
practical work than the ordinary trainees. They were highly successful
when they sat their examinations.
Their practical abilities on the wards were then
developed during an intern year. The experiment achieved
many of its objectives. For example, the drop-out rate
was cut and the scheme succeeded in attracting high scoring school
leavers. Most importantly, the experimental course provided valuable
lessons on which latter developments were based.
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