» Site Map
» Home Page
» Find Friends - Search Old Service and Genealogy Records
» QAIMNS for India
» QAIMNS First World War
» Territorial Force Nursing Service TFNS
» WW1 Soldiers Medical Records
» Field Ambulance No.4
» The Battle of Arras 1917
» The German Advance
» Warlencourt Casualty Clearing Station World War One
» NO 32 CCS Brandhoek - The Battle of Passchendaele
» Chain of Evacuation of Wounded Soldiers
» Allied Advance - Hundred Days Offensive
» Life After War
» Auxiliary Hospitals
» War Graves Nurses
» Book of Remembrance
» Example of Mentioned in Despatches Letter
» Love Stories
» Autograph Book World War One
» World War 1 Letters
» Service Scrapbooks
» QA World War Two
» Africa Second World War
» War Diaries of Sisters
» D Day Normandy Landings
» Belsen Concentration Camp
» Voluntary Aid Detachment
» National Service
» Korean War
» Gulf War
» Op Telic
» Op Gritrock
» Royal Red Cross Decoration
» Colonels In Chief
» Chief Nursing Officer Army
» Director Army Nursing Services (DANS)
» Colonel Commandant
» Matrons In Chief (QAIMNS)
Follow us on Twitter:
» Grey and Scarlet Corps March
» Order of Precedence
» QA Memorial National Arboretum
» NMA Heroes Square Paving Stone
» NMA Nursing Memorial
» Memorial Window
» Stained Glass Window
» Army Medical Services Monument
» Recruitment Posters
» QA Association
» QA and AMS Prayer and Hymn
Former Army Hospitals
» Army Chest Unit
» Cowglen Glasgow
» CMH Aldershot
» DKMH Catterick
» Duke of Connaught Unit Northern Ireland
» Endell Street
» First Eastern General Hospital Trinity College Cambridge
» Hospital Ghosts
» King George Military Hospital Stamford Street London
» QA Centre
» QAMH Millbank
» QEMH Woolwich
» Medical Reception Station Brunei and MRS Kuching Borneo Malaysia
» Military Maternity Hospital Woolwich
» Musgrave Park Belfast
» Royal Chelsea Hospital
» Royal Herbert
» Royal Brighton Pavilion Indian Hospital
» School of Physiotherapy
» Station Hospital Ranikhet
» Station Hospital Suez
» Ghost Hunt at Tidworth Garrison Barracks
» Ambulance Trains
» Hospital Barges
» Ambulance Flotilla
» Hospital Ships
» TPMH RAF Akrotiri
» Bowen Road
» Mount Kellett
» Wylie Road Kings Park
Overseas Old British Military Hospitals
» BMH Malta
» Camp Bastion Field Hospital and Medical Treatment Facility MTF Helmand Territory Southern Afghanistan
» TA Field Hospitals and Field Ambulances
What Makes a Good Psychiatric Nurse?
Guest article by Mike Young describing Mental Health Care in Colonial India
Do you meet the following criteria?
You are a woman.
You have all the attributes essential for a good surgical or medical nurse i.e. "sympathy, diligence and devotion to duty."
There are further requirements. Are you still on target?
You have that "God-given gift of saying and doing, without hesitation or apparent effort, exactly the right thing in the right way and at the right time." You may not always be "the cleverest or the best educated woman …. but no woman without it [God's gift to nursing] is suited to the care of the insane." Without this divine quality you might not have been appointed to work at European Mental Hospital in India.
I must hastily point out that these are not my words but those of Lt Col Owen Berkeley-Hill, Indian Medical Service, Medical Superintendent of the European Mental Hospital at Ranchi, 250 miles north east of present day Kolkata in India. He published his standards in the Nursing Journal of India which was reprinted in the British Journal of Nursing in July 1930 and from which the quotes are taken.
For my Ph D studies I have been studying the psychiatric career of Berkeley-Hill and the history of his hospital, which is now the Central Institute of Psychiatry in India. I would be delighted to hear from anyone with information about nursing in colonial India, particularly with psychiatric patients. If anyone has any family diaries, letters or other documents which might assist me with my work I would feel privileged to be allowed to read them.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
What if the loss of a child was not every parent's worst nightmare?
Hamish and Alison wake to some awful news from the police banging at their door, but what if their trauma was only just beginning?
Read how these former army nurses copes with their grief through to a terrifying ending.
Buried in Grief is my new novel, available in Paperback or Kindle and other devices.
Read the Opening Chapter for Free.
If you like this page and would like to easily share it with your friends and family please use the social networking buttons below:
My research so far has identified that Berkeley-Hill was genuinely eccentric, probably cantankerous but definitely committed to improving the lives of his mentally distressed European and Anglo-Indian patients. There may be some truth in his boast that the European Mental Hospital became the finest of its kind in Asia during his tenure.
Some of his forthright views might antagonise the modern Nursing and Midwifery Council but they were well intentioned if often patronising. Thus, for example, he did not see the need for male nurses as there was no violence on his wards. Yet other comments reveal some insight into the professional skills need by nurses, both then and today, required for a successful career in psychiatric nursing.
To continue the personnel specification:-
The nurse must possess limitless patience. She must be thick skinned to cope with the many irritable, abusive and insolent patients found in hospitals. To manage "insane patients" effectively she "must cultivate, assiduously, gentleness and tact and listen to all patients" without showing any favouritism.
Berkeley-Hill advises that she must not coax or lie to a patient in the hope of short term goals. She must never promise a patient who will not go to bed that they were merely being asked to go to their rooms to dress for a concert or a dance. If she does this she will inevitably lose respect through her deceit. In addition and "worse than this the patient will have lost confidence in the hospital as a whole" with repercussions for future treatment.
When away from the hospital the nurse must maintain strict confidentiality or "absolute reticence" at all times. For, says Berkeley-Hill, the fact that someone had been "under care in a mental hospital may do him, or her, irreparable harm when restored to the outer world. Sadly, his words are to some extent as true today as today as when they were written 85 years ago.
Echoing modern practice the colonel insists that attention must be given to making close observation of patient behaviour combined with the prompt recording of accurate notes before the nurse's memory is compromised. He reminds her that her words may one day be needed in a court of law. For this reason they should "always be statements of facts and never the expressions of opinion."
To date I have found little evidence that the doctor valued the opinions of his nurses. Do you think this has changed since 1930?
The numerous skills required by Berkeley-Hill of his psychiatric nurses must have meant an exacting job description and personnel specification. Would you have met the essential criteria?
Mike Young is a qualified social worker who retired in 2010 after a career in Social Services in West Yorkshire. This included a practical role in the closure in the 1980s and 1990s of several long stay hospitals, former asylums. He was the Professional Social Care Lead for Mental Health in his local authority and had been an Associate Director of a Mental Health NHS Trust. He made several visits to Pakistan and India to develop links between mental health services there and West Yorkshire. He is researching a PhD at the University of Huddersfield into mental health and the British in colonial India after 1858. He continues to work part time, for the Court of Protection, on the assessment of people with dementia.
He would be delighted to hear from anyone with information about nursing in colonial India, particularly with psychiatric patients. If anyone has any family diaries, letters or other documents which might assist him with his work he would feel privileged to be allowed to read them.
He can be contacted on email@example.com
Queen Alexandra's Military Nursing Service for India
Forces War Records
Forces War Records are a genealogy site where you can find military records of over 6 million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments, Bases and Ships. This link includes a free search and a special discount of 40% off membership offer for visitors who use the discount code AF40 if they decide to become a member.
Search Now. A unique feature is their WW1 Soldiers Medical Records section.
If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.
This website is not affiliated or endorsed by The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) or the Ministry of Defence.
» Poppy Lottery
» The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital Novel - a Book by CG Buswell
» The Drummer Boy Novel
» Regimental Cap Badges Paintings
Read our posts on:
» Army Discounts
» Help For Heroes Discount Code
» Commemorative Cover BFPS 70th anniversary QARANC Association
» Become An Army Nurse
» Junior Ranks
» Officer Ranks
» Service Numbers
Ministry of Defence Hospital Units
» MDHU Derriford
» MDHU Frimley Park
» MDHU Northallerton
» MDHU Peterborough
» MDHU Portsmouth
» RCDM Birmingham
» Army Reserve QARANC
» Florence Nightingale Plaque
» Why QA's Wear Grey
» First Time Nurses Wore Trousers AV Anti Vermin Battledress
» TRF Tactical Recognition Flash Badge
» Greatcoat TFNS
» Lapel Pin Badge
» Army School of Psychiatric Nursing Silver Badge
» Cap Badge
» Corps Belt
» ID Bracelet
» Silver War Badge WWI
» Officer's Cloak
» QAIMNSR Tippet
» QAIMNS and Reserve Uniform World War One
» Officer Medal
» Hospital Blues Uniform WW1
» Armed Forces Day
» The Nurses General Dame Maud McCarthy Exhibition Oxford House London
» Edinburgh Fringe Stage Play I'll Tell You This for Nothing - My Mother the War Hero
» Match For Heroes
» Recreated WWI Ward
» Corps Day
» Freedom of Rushmoor
» Re-enactment Groups
» Military Events
» AMS Carol Service
» QARANC Association Pilgrimage to Singapore and Malaysia 2009
» Doctors and Nurses at War
» War and Medicine Exhibition
» International Conference on Disaster and Military Medicine DiMiMED
» QA Uniform Exhibition Nothe Fort Weymouth
» Dame Margot Turner
» Dame Maud McCarthy
» Lt Col Maureen Gara
» Military Medal Awards To QAs
» Moment of Truth TV Documentary
» Sean Beech
» Staff Nurse Ella Kate Cooke
International Nurses Day
» Site Map
» Other Websites
» Walter Mitty Military Imposters
» The Abandoned Soldier
We are seeking help with some answers to questions sent by readers. These can be found on the Army Nursing page.
» Find QA's
» Personalised Poster
» Poppy Badges
» Teddy Bears
» Pin Badges
» Wall Plaques
» Fridge Magnet