Training Course for Nursing Housekeepers

When one thinks of nursing training in the early twentieth century, one thinks of nursing students in hospitals providing menial labour in return for their education. This is how nurses were trained. After their training, nurses would find work in hospitals or in private duty nursing. A select few would brave the unknown and travel to northern Saskatchewan. Some young women, perhaps not able to do the full nursing program, took the Training Course for Nursing Housekeepers, a one-year course designed to "supply a body of women who shall be ready and able to assist in the care of the home as well as in the care of the sick." (Nursing Housekeeper Pamphlet)

Designed to meet the needs of rural and remote Saskatchewan, graduates from this course would be suited to work in Northern and rural Saskatchewan. These were not often desired destinations for many nurses. Nursing housekeepers were trained not only in the art of caring for patients in the home, but also to assist physicians in the absence of a registered nurse:

Instruction will be given in the care of the sick room, the care of bed patients, and in all of the simple nursing procedures. Instruction will also be given in the care of infants and young children, in the hygiene of pregnancy, and in the care of the mother and newborn infant. While it is not intended that Registered Nursing Housekeepers shall supersede Registered Nurses in the care of obstetrical patients, the Nursing Housekeeper shall receive such training as will enable her intelligently to assist the physicians in the absence of a Registered Nurse.

Nursing housekeepers, while not a well-recognized part of Saskatchewan's past, need to be recognized as brave pioneers of Saskatchewan's remote and sometimes desolate rural areas. Young women, barely having left the comforts of their parents' homes, would travel to the most remote parts of the province to tend to those in need of care.