Miss Sybil Maude was everything a well-bred upper class young woman was expected to be.
As the eldest daughter, she helped her mother with running of the household and tended to her young siblings. She was a devoted Anglican and volunteered her time through St Michael and All Angels with their outreach to the less fortunate of Christchurch. After being encouraged to extend her volunteering to the Christchurch Hospital, Sybil’s life changed forever. She went home and declared to her startled family that she wanted to become a nurse! Unheard of for a lady of her social standing.
After 12 months of nurse training in London, Sybil returned to Christchurch and accepted the role of Matron at Christchurch Hospital. She caused waves almost instantly. She saw the need for great improvements – not only for the patients but also for the nurses. Speaking her mind quite freely, she stepped on many toes – resulting in an inquiry into her work. Cleared of any wrong doing, Sybil had already left the hospital mentally. She had become concerned for those who couldn’t make it to the hospital or couldn’t afford too.
After resigning and fundraising for a district nursing scheme where she would tend to those in need in their own homes, Sybil became a well known figure, briskly walking down Christchurch’s streets with a bed pan under one arm and a medical bag under the other.
In her first year, she visited 1100 homes – on foot.
For a more in depth look at Nurse Maude, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/nurse-maude-1862-1935/
* Image courtesy of the Canterbury Public Library – http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/ – File Reference CCL PhotoCD 13, IMG0039