Sunday Stills the Next Challenge: Red – Courage to Care

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

CQUniversity celebrated International Nurses Day on May 12th, with a reader’s theatre event. Here a group of Nursing, Education and Creative Arts staff and students presented “Courage to Care” a scripted reading, telling of the role Australian Nurses had in the wars. It was a fantastic event and demonstrated without doubt the 6 C’s of Nursing – Care, compassion, Competence, communication, courage and commitment. This period nurses uniform dates through the Boer War and First World Wars. In fact when I started my nursing training we were wearing a very similar uniform minus the removable cuffs and collars. Our capes were longer and long sleeves were being phased out. When I graduated I wore a veil but prior to then a nurses cap with the stripes to denote what year I was in.

Not only was the cape red but also the liner for the tucker basket and red jam on the scones.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

These three photos are from the museum in my training hospital. The model with the veil  below is the uniform I wore when I graduated.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

An antiquated cot – the red bulb belongs to a breast pump whilst the other instrument was used to listen to foetal heart sounds.

For Ed’s Sunday Stills the Next Challenge.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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32 Responses to Sunday Stills the Next Challenge: Red – Courage to Care

  1. Norah says:

    The uniforms remind me of those worn by my sister. What an admirable career. I could never be a nurse. I am grateful that there are those who can! Thank you for being one of those. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. M-R says:

    Great stuff, Irene ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was 7, I had a Halloween costume nurse’s outfit that looked very similar, except my cape was blue. I felt so proud wearing it. I’m not trying to reduce your uniform or profession to a holiday costume, but wanted to share how respected the appearance and work of nurses was. The profession is still highly respected, and now very technical and specific, but but the look is much more casual, at least here in the states.
    You must have been a wonderful nurse. Do you miss it? Would love to read more about what you did.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think that you are reducing anything. I too had a nurses uniform growing up and then when I joined the red cross we were given a proper uniform. I was so proud marching in the ANZAC parade. I didn’t know the politics of the time where they had tried to stop us from wearing the uniform as we weren’t real nurses. It is much more casual here now also. I feel a little sad about that in a way because it was like wearing your armour. Everyone knew who you were, what your role was and made you somehow non-human. I also like being called nurse or sister for the same reason. It must be really difficult doing some highly personal tasks to someone when they call you as your friends do and you look like a person off the street. Mind you I think I am probably the only person that feels this way.
      You have given me an idea for my blog for after I have finished my study. It is at a point where I have to give it more attention than here – where I’d rather be.

      Like

  4. Sherri says:

    And what a wonderful nurse I just know you made Irene, embodying all these values 🙂 The closest I ever came to wearing a nurse’s uniform was my play outfit as a girl. I particularly loved the cape – blue I think – and the red cross on the front of my white dress. Also the little white, plastic case it came with the stethoscope and fob watch. That was as far as I got 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. noelleg44 says:

    Fascinating, Irene. I can see you in your uniform. The uniforms are not all that different than the ones worn by the WWI nurses in a BBC series called Crimson Fields, set in France during that war. I was astounded at the similarities.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I would love to see that series Noelle. I don’t know whether it made it out here. We were given one series to watch to then attack from the various different philosophical research angles. I didn’t understand the philosophy too well but I loved the episode and wanted more but have been unable to find it.

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  6. As a student nurse I wore a long blue pure wool cape over my uniform. We stopped wearing hats in my second year. I remember working in the TB ward and the staff nurse was about to tell me off for not wearing my hat but then celebrated by ripping off her hat and throwing on the floor before kicking it the length of the ward. Once I passed all my exams I then got to wear a red cape. They were warm in the winter and so hot in the summer. We had to wear them to and from the nurses home – it was always checked.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Charli Mills says:

    What a great glimpse at the evolution of the nursing uniform. I rather like the red cape. But why a veil? Is it practical or symbolic?

    Liked by 2 people

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