Is there a chance for an Englishwoman in Canada outside the domestic service circle ?
This question is being asked every day by the educated Englishwoman who is anxious and willing to try her luck in the great Dominion beyond the seas. The usual openings for educated girls in England do not abound in Canada. Governesses, secretaries, and so forth, are not required. One profession, however, offers a real chance of success, provided only that the would-be emigrant can take her training in Canada instead of in England, and that is Nursing.
It is well known in emigration circles that numbers of trained and highly qualified English nurses have gone out to Canada and failed to get a footing, but this may be attributed in most instances to their failure to adapt themselves to the new conditions, and also to a decided prejudice on the part of Canadians in favour of home-trained nurses.
Many of the English nurses who went out in the first rush to Western Canada were much too autocratic for Colonial tastes. They assumed superior airs', compared Canadian hospital methods with those at home, to the former's disadvantage. Even in England there is often rivalry between nurses from different great hospitals, but English people are not so touchy as their brethren overseas, and are willing to give and take in matters of opinion in a way Canadians have not yet learned to do. No doubt, Canadian hospitals in new, rough districts may not be managed and equipped as perfectly as a great London hospital, but the sole practical result of the English nurses' attitude was that the Canadian medical profession decided it could pull through without their aid, and applied itself to do so.
The climate of Canada, with its extremes of heat and cold, requires, moreover, a somewhat different treatment of many diseases than the English climate necessitates, and this must be learned by the nurse oh the spot.
English girls who will go to Canada, and enter any of the large hospital training schools for a three years' course of instruction, will have before them a wide field and good and lucrative openings. All over Canada there is a cry for nurses, but they must be Canada-trained.
The first thing to do, when a girl decides she would like to take a training course in Canada, is to call upon, or write to, Mr. J. Obed Smith, Commissioner of Emigration to the Dominion Government, at their Emigration Office, II, Charing Cross, London, W.c.
The Commissioner is keenly interested in the emigration of suitable women, but unless the applicant has some qualifications to offer which Canada needs, he will not encourage her to go, so that unless a girl is really-determined to become a nurse, and has the necessary qualitiesof sound health, strength, strong nerves, gentle ways, and a cheerful disposition, she should not waste the time of the busy officials at the office.
The emigrant must lay aside her natural, instinctive prejudice in favour of home ways, and enter into her Canadian experiences in the spirit of a discoverer determined to conquer. If she does this, long before her three years are up she will look back with a smile at the little things which worried her so at first because they were strange and new.
The writer was a pupil-nurse in the Winnipeg Hospital Training School, one of the largest in Western Canada, and looks back with pleasure to the time she spent there.
The term in all Canadian schools commences in September, so it is wise for a girl to make application as far in advance of this date as possible. She must apply, as before directed, to the Emigration Office, and if she passes muster with the authorities there, a list of hospital training schools will be given her, and the machinery set in motion by which she may be accepted as pupil by one of them. If she does not live in London, and cannot call personally at the offices, an application form will be forwarded to her which must be fully filled up, and references given.
The cost of travelling out to Canada was fully dealt with in Vol. I. of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia, pages 33 and 188, but the outfit which the pupil-nurse requires will be a little different from that needed by a girl who is going out to friends, or on to a farm.
The probationers must provide their own dresses and aprons; caps are not worn until the training period is ended. The dresses must be of print, made all in one, absolutely plain and tight-fitting; the aprons must be white and full, reaching all round the skirt, and with a bib with long ends buttoning to the waistband at the back. Three print dresses, six aprons, and two pairs of low-heeled shoes, added to the ordinary outfit, will be sufficient. The former can be made at home, but the boots should be purchased in Canada, to be certain that they comply with the regulations. They average about 15s. a pair.
The probationers' dresses will wear best if they are lined throughout. As the temperature of the hospital wards is always high, heavy underclothing is out of the question; underwear such as is worn in England during the summer is usually warm enough the whole year round in Canada, while on duty. A complete change is necessary when going out of doors. All through the winter
Canadian women will wear cotton blouses in their overheated rooms, though the snow may be many feet deep outside the double windows. For outdoors, a fur, or fur-lined, coat is far more satisfactory than heavy underclothing with a cloth coat such as is worn at home.
An extra pair of thick woollen knickers is donned before going out; flannel underskirts that would trail in the snow are an impossibility.