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Early Nursing Years

Edith began her nurse training at a fever hospital, transferring, 6 months later, to Britain’s largest voluntary general hospital and nurse training school, The London. Here she qualified for the Hospital’s nurse training certificate by completing a two year training course followed by a mandatory period on the hospital staff. She trained under Eva Luckes, a friend of Florence Nightingale, who acquired a reputation as a great “maker of matrons.”

As a nurse, Edith was regarded as very capable, but also self-sufficient, sometimes aloof and even abrupt. After a successful posting to Maidstone, Kent during a typhoid epidemic in 1897, she transferred to the London’s private nursing staff and spent a year travelling around the country looking after middle class patients before spending two years as staff nurse on a men’s medical ward. Her next posts were in London infirmaries, run under the Poor Law, where a high proportion of the patients were chronically sick and or elderly: cases which the voluntary hospitals tended to turn away.

As Assistant Matron in Shoreditch Infirmary she recruited and trained nurses and was involved in the organisation of nursing care for two years, but by 1906 she was ready for a new challenge.

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