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by Lisa Murphy   MMM Archivist    Ireland     15.05.2022

Nurse training resizedInternational Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12th which is also the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. The theme for 2022 is Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health. When we reflect on the history of MMM we can see that investment in Nursing and Midwifery was something that Mother Mary worked towards from the very beginning. Documents from the MMM Archive show us that as early as December 1941, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was applying for recognition as a Midwifery Training School. While the hospital initially fell short of the requirements of the Central Midwives Board, Mother Mary was undeterred. She ensured that the hospital was brought up the standards required. The result was that the hospital was approved as a Training School for Grade I Midwifery on 23 June 1942 and Grade II Midwifery in 1944.

In 1945 Mother Mary submitted an application to the General Nursing Council for Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital to be recognised as a preliminary training school. Recognition could not be granted at that time owing to the need for more beds within the hospital. An extension to the hospital was begun in 1945 and officially opened on 8 July 1946. On 26 August 1946 Mother Mary wrote once again to the General Nursing Council to request that the hospital be recognised as a preliminary training school for general nursing. She writes “At present the demands from the Missions are very great and qualified personnel is urgently needed”. Her efforts were once again successful and on 18 October 1946 Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was recognised as an affiliated training school for nurses. It would be affiliated with three Dublin hospitals, St Vincent’s Hospital, the Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Jervis Street Hospital. Students would undertake the preliminary part of their training in Drogheda and the final two years of training in one of the Dublin hospitals.

Over the years, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital saw an increased need for its services both within Drogheda and the surrounding counties. Mother Mary went on a campaign in Ireland and the United States of America to raise funds for a larger hospital and on 8 September 1952 the first sod was turned on the new hospital. On 3 October 1956, the first three floors of the new International Missionary Training Hospital were opened. In 1957, the new hospital was granted full recognition by the General Nursing Council as a complete training school for General Nurse Training. A capping ceremony was held on 22 Sept 1957 to mark this huge milestone. Twenty-two student nurses including Sisters from the Medical Missionaries of Mary, other religious orders and lay women were admitted into their training course.

In the span of a decade Mother Mary took Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda from a Midwifery training school to an affiliated training school for General Nursing to a complete training school for General Nurse Training. Her perseverance and commitment to investment in nurse training provided opportunities for both Irish and international students to train in Drogheda for over fifty years. On this International Nurses Day we remember and celebrate all MMM nurses and the contribution of nurses across Ireland to our healthcare, particularly in these challenging times.

 

 

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