STORY TOWN: Upper Riccarton


Nurse Maude, Sibylla Emily Maude (1862-1935)
[ca. 1900] – CCL File Reference CCL-KPCD13-0039

Nurse Maude is not just a second-hand shop. She was one of our most famous medical professionals and helped Christchurch survive another pandemic that happened over 100 years ago. A local newspaper called her ‘the hardest-working woman of the epidemic.’





Sydney, March 26.

It is now practically admitted that the epidemic is out of hand. The hospital accommodation is inadequate and people are advised to prepare for the treatment of cases in their own houses —Aus.-N.Z. Cable Assn.


By Telegraph.—Press Association.

Christchurch, March 26.

Giving evidence before the Influenza Commission, Nurse Maude, district nurse, said that in November the Hospital’ Board asked her to organise the work of nurses. She was overwhelmed with people offering assistance, but a great many were of little help. She had issued a leaflet giving directions on how properly to wash patients, and this saved many lives. In the majority of cases housewives were helpless, frightened and showed appalling ignorance of the ordinary rules of health and cleanliness. They had been good enough to do as they were told as regards opening windows, but many had since dropped hack into their old ways. She considered it would take a generation to teach people to value fresh air.

Nurse Maude said the law should compel people to open the windows. In a large number of houses the windows would not open owing to broken sashes and an appallingly large number had no proper accommodation for bathing. Many housewives could not cook a potato properly and there was a deplorable lack of milk puddings, such as were necessary for young children.

Mrs T. E. Taylor gave evidence regarding the care of children during the epidemic. About 160 had been received into sanitary homes. Many were in a deplorable condition, being without a full set of underclothing, though outwardly tidy enough.

Dr. E. Jennings gave evidence of his experience in Auckland. Wellington Christchurch and Fiji. He advocates perfecting the block system to avoid the considerable amount of overlapping medical attendance

We have witnessed hospital staff in the news protesting against being overworked during the COVID pandemic. Over 100 years again, Nurse Maude campaigned against the same thing: “The hospitals knocked them to pieces with overwork… There should be one day per week quite free, in which case the nurses would be able to give better service and would not feel cross and irritable with their patients.”



ISSUE 17939, 19 MAY 1920, PAGE 4



(From Our Own Correspondent.) CHRISTCHURCH, May 18.

“My motto is, if you have a good nurse do not kill her. The hospitals kill their nurses. They knock them to pieces. They do not look after their nurses in the Christchurch Hospital.” That was the indictment levelled by Nurse Maude, head of the District Nursing Association, against the present conditions of employment of hospital nurses in the course of a talk to members of the Christchurch Council of Churches last evening. Nurse Maude, in explaining the working of the District Nursing Association, stated that the workers were allowed one day off per week for a rest. That was because she maintained that, having found a good nurse, they should not kill her. The hospitals knocked them to pieces with overwork. It was the same in England, where she had received her training. The nurses were never looked after, and the members of the hospital boards did not understand what the nurses had to put up with. She wished some board members would spend a full day in a ward. Then the nurses would get their day off’. Perhaps the Council of Churches might do something one day in “stirring up” the North Canterbury Hospital Board in this matter. At Home she had known of two nurses who spent a week’s holiday in bed simply because they were “done up.” There should be one day per week quite free, in which case the nurses would be able to give better service and would not feel cross and irritable with their patients.

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