An excellent preparation for marriage and families of their own : Karitane nursing in New Zealand, 1959-1979 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University
The Karitane baby nurse is qualified to undertake the care of young children and babies. Before qualification she has had sixteen months of intensive instruction and practical experience in a Karitane Hospital under the eye of the visiting physicians and the matron and sisters. In addition she has had four months' practical work in private homes under the supervision of the Plunket nurse and bureau secretary. The Karitane nurse will do everything possible to ensure the highest standard of health and happiness for the child under her care......She is not a general-trained nurse and should not be asked to carry the responsibility of a child who is not well. The aim of the Karitane nurse is to help the mother to accept full care of her child with competence and confidence....The Karitane nurse will be there to help the mother and to guide and support her with the problems of mothercraft. A close and understanding relationship between the mother and the Karitane nurse is an essential foundation for an efficient service....The Society would like mothers to understand that the Karitane nurse holds a responsible position, and that her status in the household should be that of a trained children's nurse. Karitane nursing is an arduous profession....It is in the interests of the parents to ensure that the nurse's health and strength is safeguarded and that she is not overloaded with household duties In this way the Karitane nursing service will remain a popular one.1
1 The Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children (RNZSHWC), 'Rules for Karitane Nurses, Scope and Duties', circa 1960s, DU:HO, AG-145-27
By the time these 'Rules' were issued, the training of Karitane nurses was already under threat. They illustrate, however, the key characteristics of the Karitane nurse: she was not trained to deal with sick children, and although trained in an institution, her final place of work was in family homes, but she was not to be mistaken for a domestic servant.