Today nursing is a popular career choice for many school leavers but did you know that there was a shortage of nurses during and immediately after the Second World War? And so a campaign began to recruit women into the nursing profession.
On 14 January 1946, Campbell Advertising submitted an advertising campaign of slides for theatre screenings to the Department of Health and Home Affairs aimed at recruiting trainee nurses. The campaign was designed to encourage girls to choose nursing as a career over office or retail work, and highlighted the advantages of a nursing career, such as free board and lodging, medical attention, sick leave and four weeks of annual leave.
Mr R. H. Robinson, the Under Secretary for the Department of Health and Home Affairs, approved the slides for screening in suburban and country theatres from 17 March 1947 until 14 June 1947.
The Queensland Health Education Council decided that a maximum of £500 was to be spent on the campaign. The Council estimated the campaign would reach about 306,000 females of all ages and the slides would screen over 5,100 times.
While we can’t be sure of the success of this recruitment campaign, the shortage of nurses highlighted the need for improvement across nursing, including education, conditions and wages.
Queensland State Archives holds many interesting nursing records including:
- Health and Home Affairs Department – General Correspondence in Series 6679
- Examination Papers from the Nurses and Masseurs Registration Board Series 16821
- Corporate Services Committee Minute books from Queensland Nursing Council Series 19271
- Registration Board Files Series 19366
And that’s just to name a few.
For more information, take a look at Queensland State Archives Brief Guide 53 Nurses, Queensland State Archives online Exhibition web page on Nursing in Queensland and the historical essay written by Margaret Cook on Nursing in Queensland
I wonder if a record was kept of the Red cross Volunteers or VADs who worked in Convalescent Homes in Queensland during WW2
You question about volunteer nursing staff working in 2nd World War convalescence is interesting. Thanks. By 1939 public records about military service personnel involved in wars were collected by the National Archives of Australia (NAA). Although you question is about volunteer staff who would not be likely to have service dossier, you may want to log in to the NAA website and Ask a question.
There may also be secondary sources such as published books or journal articles, you may want to search either the State Library of Queensland and/or the National Library of Australia for these sources.