How to Join   Advantages and Disadvantages of the Life   Pay, Prospects, and Holidays

How to Join - Advantages and Disadvantages of the Life - Pay, Prospects, and Holidays

It was in 1898 or 1899 that the Colonial Nursing Association became the recognised source from which the Colonial Office drew

Colonial nurses in Zomba, Nyasaland its principal supply of nurses for Government work in the Crown Colonies. Prior to that time, however, a number of nurses had been sent to fill posts, at the request of the department.

Colonial nurses in Zomba, Nyasaland its principal supply of nurses for Government work in the Crown Colonies. Prior to that time, however, a number of nurses had been sent to fill posts, at the request of the department.

In 1902 a "sick-pay fund" committee was appointed. The question of how to help nurses in sickness was a difficult one. No corner in the world was too remote for nurses to volunteer, but insurance companies did not overwhelm the association with offers of assistance. Then a fund was formed and administered by a small committee to help those nurses whose health had suffered from climatic or other causes.

Some Government hospitals have engaged special nurses to live in their hospitals and take private cases outside. This plan enables the nurses to live comfortably and in well-ordered fashion.

Another rather unusual extension has been in connection with the supply of nurses for work among the employees on the Cape to Cairo Railway, under the local management of the South African Church Railway Mission. Those already sent out have done well.

Colonial Nurses Where To Apply

Before a woman can become a colonial nurse she must have taken her full certificates for three years' training in a general hospital, and in the case of almost every colony she must have taken also her Central Midwives' Board Certificate. This qualification, however, is unnecessary for nurses in West Africa and Western Australia.

If a nurse desires work in one or other of the colonies, she should write, expressing this desire, to the Secretary, Colonial Nursing Association, Imperial Institute, London, S.w. In reply, she will receive the following letter:

"Madam, - In reply to your letter I beg to enclose a form of application, on the front page of which you will find particulars.

"Special attention is called to paragraph 8, re midwifery training. Although for appointments in West Africa, and occasionally in a few other places, this qualification is not usually necessary, it has been found to be a great advantage to nurses wishing to take up colonial work to possess a midwifery certificate.

Group of nurses of the Victoria Nursing Home, Shanghai

Group of nurses of the Victoria Nursing Home, Shanghai

"n regard to paragraph 9, the chance of a vacancy occurring for any candidate of twenty-five is very limited, and the committee therefore prefer not to book candidates (unless in very exceptional circumstances) who are under twenty-seven years of age.

"If you will kindly fill in this form and return it to me, it shall be laid before the committee, and should they think it likely that a suitable vacancy may occur, I would then arrange for a personal interview with you, which is necessary in every case before the candidate's name is entered on the books for colonial or foreign work.

"Appointmentsare offered only to candidates whose names are on the books, and full particulars as to the terms and duties are supplied when the offer is made.

"It has been recently decided that new candidates must be prepared to meet the wishes of the committee, if required to do so, in respect of their first appointments. Full consideration is, however, given to each individual case, and, where possible, the committee will meet the candidate's wishes.

I am, madam,

Yours faithfully, M. E. Dalrymple Hay,

Secretary." The form of application, which every candidate must fill in and return to the secretary, asks for the Christian and surname in full, present address, home address for permanent reference, age, and place of birth. The applicant also will be required to state whether she is married, single, or a widow (marriage certificate will be required, and it will be necessary to declare the occupation of the husband), her father's name and his present or former occupation; even if he is dead, his name and occupation should be given.

Colonial Nurses Where To Apply 100722

The following questions also will be asked:

To what religious denomination do you belong?

What serious or infectious illnesses have you had? (A medical certificate for general health is required.) Have you been re-vaccinated?

State in what hospitals or institutions you have been trained, and give dates of entering and leaving each.

What certificates do you hold? (Copies of all certificates to be sent with application.)

How have you been occupied since training, and in what capacity have you been employed?

Do you know any foreign languages?

Names and addresses of two persons as references. State how long each has known you.

Names and addresses of two guarantors who would undertake the refundment of passage - money should the agreement be broken.

This has to be signed by the candidate, under a declaration that the information is correct.


The private nurses in the majority of cases are paid a salary of not less than 60 sterling per annum, board and lodging being provided by the local committee in each colony. For Government appointments the salaries vary from 35 to 150, but where the salary is over 80 per annum the nurses have usually to provide their own board. In the case of private nurses the salary will be paid from the date of the nurse's arrival in the colony, and will cease on the date of her departure, but a second-class passage out and home will be paid.

Conditions Of Engagement

It must be distinctly understood that nurses under engagement to the local committee in a colony are bound by their rules and regulations, and are subject to the authority of the president of that committee.

All nurses entering into the service of the association must distinctly understand that during the period of their agreement of service they must undertake whatever cases the local committee find it necessary to send them to. Each local committee is requested, where there is more than one nurse under their control, to endeavour, as far as circumstances will allow, to vary the duties for each nurse, but the discretion of the local committee as regards the cases to which each nu'se is sent is not under any circumstances to be questioned by the nurse herself.

The usual term of engagement is three years.

The engagement may be ended at any time by three calendar months' notice given in wri ing to the nurse by the president of the Local committee, or such other person as aforesaid or by the association, but the ending of the engagement does not affect the right of the nurse to her homeward passage. The Colonial Nursing Association expects each nurse to wear uniform and washing-dresses when on duty. This rule is subject to modification by the local committee according to the climate in each colony. Each nurse engaged for private work must undertake to refund to the Colonial Nursing Association her outward passage-money, should she for reasons unapproved by the local committee break her engagement, or should the local committee find it necessary to terminate her engagement owing to serious misconduct on her part. She will be required, however, to find two persons who will guarantee such repayment. The nurses of the Colonial Nursing Association are forbidden to accept presents of any kind from patients. The nurses engaged for Government work sign their agreements with the Crown agents for the colonies, and are bound by similar regulations to the above. The limit of age for all new candidates for Government employment is 25 to 35.

Advantages Of The Life

To all women who have "wander-fever," and to whom the "call of the wild" comes, this life should prove interesting. The spirit of adventure needs to be rife in the colonial nurse. She should, like a soldier, be ready to be sent on duty anywhere, and at any time. Under these circumstances she will find her life full of variety, and can rely on meeting people who will see to it that she has a good time. Doctors, for instance, take good care that colonial nurses shall not suffer from homesickness and boredom, and they get up dances, dinners, and tennis parties, to which the nurses are invariably invited. Colonial life, moreover, as everyone knows, is very much more of a holiday than life over here. For one thing, there is a spirit of camaraderie and good-fellowship, owing to the fact, doubtless, that all are exiles in a foreign land, that is apt to be painfully conspicuous by its absence at home.


Colonial nursing differs greatly from nursing in a general hospital in England. Of necessity the nurse's work brings her into contact with all sorts and conditions of men and women, also with various nationalities. There is much about her work which will inevitably disgust and nauseate her, more so than work in an English hospital. She may meet with all sorts of unpleasantness, and she must make up her mind that many things are "all in the day's work." If she is thin-skinned, squeamish, or apt to imagine herself ill-used, she is bound to have many a bad quarter of an hour. She needs to be unfailingly tactful and judicious, also unfailingly self-respecting, in which case she need never fear that she will lose the respect of her patients.

A flighty, empty-headed girl is, as a rule, a dead failure in colonial nursing. The kind of woman who is needed is the woman who is not too stiff and stilted, but who, on the other hand, never courts undue familiarity from her patients.