What it is;
where it came from; what it does...
It seems so long ago now -
November 2007 - when I put my money where my mouth used to be - and
went on-line on the giant world wide web with my own small attempt to
spread the word about the history on the British nursing profession.
And here we all are, heading for
November 2019 - twelve years after I held my breath (and anything
else I could think of) and clicked 'Publish' on
my web design package 'options' keyboard.. My heart was in my
mouth. My anxiety level off the top of any scale imaginable.
'God' what had I done?.... Was there an 'undo' button somewhere, an
'Abort, Abort'.. If there was an icon I couldn't see it. Perhaps it
was labeled "Panic"... But I could not see one of those
Those were some of my initial
feelings on the day the first ever edition of schoolsofnursing.co.uk
news pages went online.
In the event, the reality was that after several months
extremely hard continuous pushing, researching and writing, I had achieved my goal.
nursing history site that everyone who desired to could access
anytime (and if so desired contribute to) and for free.
later anyone can still do so.
To join, an active email and self selected
password was and still is, all that is required. Free to all users. No details
ever passed on to anyone.
So what do we have today? Well, this is our membership welcome
welcome to schoolsofnursing.
Enjoy your membership.
The main site contains a wealth of information. News,
collecting, bibliography, Editor photo galleries, plus news
archives so that you can see everything from our opening date,
et al. That part of the site is fully searchable and has a
National Archives link on almost every page. Find your school;
search National Archives for your training hospital/s...
Membership of the forum brings the advantages of being able to
start your own topics, or of course join topics already started
- and also web space for your own photograph gallery. There are
also the beginnings of National Collections of photographs on
nursing history, to which you can also post your own
photographs. This is the link:-
And that is it. Main site; Forum; Photo Galleries. Enjoy!
If there is anything we can do to assist please just ask.
Otherwise, enjoy the facilities, you will not receive any
adverts and - after this welcome message we will not bombard you
with nuisance notes! Best of all, it's free..
Your membership is appreciated and valued.
Ps. Please remember that commercial advertising is not
acceptable to us.
And that is it.. Main site; Forum; Photograph Galleries.... A
misleadingly concise statement if
there was ever there was one.
Main Site: was first...long before any thing else went on
line. The cause of all my woes! The blank sheet... But then the real
seed was an existing website - the MSN Nursing badges group. I
first joined as a latter day member - but Microsoft were soon to
pull the plug and there seemed nothing else. Uploading had
supremely difficult - a real 'labor of love' - though love was far
too strong a word for the struggle involved. I felt that, as a
retired nurse teacher with a computing and research background, that
I could do it better!
Hence - 'putting my money where my mouth used to be'....
Three months - and much serious
work and designing what I hoped would become the basic site was on
the table. Every one of the more than 700 schools of nursing and
their satellites was safely recorded (and backed up) on my computer.
News Pages: There are now 51
illustrated pages - each now consisting of a general introduction
column; a 'collectors corner' column; a factual (numbers) column;
and a 'credits' - an acknowledgements - column. The illustrations are largely confined to
collectors corner plus a regular insertion of two badges taken from
those posted by members in their galleries - all are acknowledged.
The word count is around 2000
words per page - maybe 37 paragraphs per news. All content is
thoroughly researched spelling; grammar, and legal issues - usually
copyright issues, for example, which are always be
And then the content is thoroughly and shamelessly plagiarized! Well not
really, permissions are always sought if necessary and
acknowledgements are routine. The site is really written largely by
members - not forgetting non-member contributors..
2000 wards x 51 issues - around
102,000 words - a not unreasonable university size PhD size thesis!
Generally a bi-monthly exercise -
with frequency changing upwards if possible depending on available
The Forum: Is complex!
It is a built around a free software program from 'Simple Machines'.
This is a completely separate package facilitating joining/leaving
and - allowing members to initiate and/or participate in discussions
on any topic that they may wish to and to include photographs within
any discussion. There is also a message board which allows direct
printed communication between members. Anyone can follow the
threads, they are public, but only members can participate in discussions.
The forum is moderated and administered in real time. A
necessity to prevent unwanted material reaching the on-line (public)
world. Some of this area is also automated as a double safeguard.
Fruity language becomes just that - apples, pears oranges et al...
To date there are 5,947 posts on
1,013 topics. It is of course necessary to have administrators
and moderators to ensure smooth running. There is also an
automated system of blocking unacceptable language.... Well, it is a
nursing history site but the unexpected is just that - unexpected!
The Photograph Galleries:
are vast: Built around a program called 'Coppermine'.
They contain 6,206 files (photographs) in 45 Albums covering 5
categories, with 723 user comments thereon. Viewed 129,329 times!
A truly vast collection. Where else I ask myself, could one
find such a collection of photographs - covering all aspects
of nursing history - in one place?
People; ephemera; buildings;
uniforms - civilian and military: nursing and hospital badges - all
geographical areas of the UK and Ireland are covered, plus Military,
international and allied professions and organizations - everything
covered. Apart form buttons and Ambulance badges -
which we are working on. All contributed by members (and a
number of non-members to whom we are also deeply indebted). In short - an on-line museum of nursing
Three heavyweight programs, a Microsoft web publisher; a full
blown forum from 'Simple Machines'; and the incomparable 'Coppermine'
photograph gallery. All sewn together and bridged to enable seamless
functioning between all. And they have been doing so for the last
twelve years with scarcely a hiccough!
All together now!
Exactly my intent when designing the site. I am acutely
aware that my iteration of the site content sounds sometimes like
it was all my own work. Nothing, but nothing, is
further from the truth! Yes, I am the architect of the site -
the design of the building, so to speak, is mine. The
rooms; the door labels; and if you like, the paintwork are mine. And
yes, I designed the structure of the whole museum. But the
building was empty! My sincere hope was that people - nurses
especially - would want to come in, look around - and bring in their
expertise, their photographs, and not least their memories to share
And that is exactly what happened, over the course of 12 years
maybe, but come they did , bringing with them
the content of the on-line, internet museum. (718 Registered
members to date) plus many casual visitors who choose to use the
site without registering. Not
everyone is delivered something tangible, some just visit, but even just browsing the
site is to my mind helping to keep it alive - and perhaps spread the
word. The most we have had in any one day
Is five hundred and five... Not quite in an all singing, all
dancing super league, but quite good, I feel, for a nursing history
And it is alive! And so are the histories of the nurses and their
hospitals that we have, and will continue to record. Perhaps one day
we will have a real life building. The money involved would be
phenomenal. For now we are virtual.
And not forgetting.
There has, of course, always been a small group of people who work
diligently for the site. In the very beginning there were only
"The need was for help from other nurses. The people who were part of the
making of nursing history. We found this initially in Peter Maleczek -
founder and leader of the 'nursing badges' group on the MSN Network. Peter ('backman')
supported us unstintingly from the outset and encouraged other members of
the nursing badges group to assist - primarily by allowing the use of their
photographs of their badge collections. On this score it needs to be
recorded that the collections of Peter himself (English, Scottish, and
Welsh); the Irish nursing badge collection of Eric Wilkinson; Susan Sullivan;
Barry Sutton - with his truly massive collection;
and not least by any means, Bill and his collection of Kent nursing badges -
plus the other members of the nursing badge group who have offered help - if
we have not acknowledged you personally yet, it is only because we have yet
to take up your offers (steal your photographs/seek your offered assistance)
because (unlike Ali Baba) we only possess a few accomplished thieves."
I am also very acutely aware that in an article such as
this major contributors can seem to be left out. Again
nothing, but nothing, is further from my mind. Hence I have attempted
to add a list in the form of 'Acknowledgements' herein at the end
of this article - remembering now that I am attempting to explain
the very beginnings of the site. For now I need to emphasize that
throughout it 'all together now' has remained our 'raison d' etra' -
there seems no other way to collect our nursing history.
So - where are we now?
Well, according to our recent web Statistics - 'Most Online Ever: 505
(December 05, 2019, 10:46:14 PM)..... there were 5973 Posts in
1018 Topics by 722 Members.... On one day...
Not too bad for a British Nursing History website I think.... Maybe
'Must Try Harder'....
But I do, I do!
Copyright will Burgess@schoolsofnursing.co.uk