RCH Rules for Nurses in 1863

There were publicly posted rules for patients, nurses and visitors in the original Royal Columbian Hospital. Here are the rules for nurses.

Royal Columbian Hospital

Rules for Nurses

1. Nurses shall be most kind and attentive to the Patients, and shall see in a general way to their comforts.
2. Nurses shall give medicine and food to the Patients at the stated hours.
3. Nurses shall give to the Patients such food and medicine only as may be ordered by the Physician.
4. Nurses shall see that the Rules for Visitors and Patients are strictly observed.
5. Nurses, in the absence of the Physician, shall have full power over the inmates of a Ward, Visitors or Patients, and will in such absence, be held responsible for the preservation of order, the maintenance of comfort and cleanliness, and the strict observance of the Hospital Rules.
6. Nurses shall themselves implicitly obey the orders of the Physician in the management of Patients, and shall see that the latter do likewise.
7. Nurses shall report to the Physician on his next visit any infringement of the Hospital Rules by Patients or Visitors.
8. Nurses shall keep themselves and the Patients neat and clean.
9. Nurses shall not take fees, presents or gratuities of any kind from the Patients or their friends, under any pretence.
10. Nurse infringing any of the above Rules shall be brought before the Board by the Physician, and shall be liable to instant dismissal.

By order of the Board of Managers
ARTHUR T. BUSHBY
Hon’y Sec’y

New Westminster, Jan’y 1st, 1863

There weren’t any “Rules for Physicians” published in 1863 to accompany the rules for patients, visitors, and nurses? Why not? The reasons for these rules and for there not being similar ones for doctors might not be what you think. Watch for our next post that will put this all in perspective and give you a real sense of what this and any similar hospital was like 150 years ago.

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