The success of a Nightingale nurse training was to a large extent dependent upon strong matrons. These ladies had to be extremely tough. The first matron of the new training school was Sarah Elizabeth Wardroper, a widow with four children without nursing experience but with perseverance. Beneath such a vigorous matron was the superintendent, a nurse herself, living at the hospital. From this duo, the success of the Nightingale training depended. For her first experiment, Nightingale herself selected Thomas’ Hospital because of the qualities of Wardroper, in whom she placed great confidence. And rightly so, under Wardroper’s supervision, many a matron and superintendent was prepared to start a Nightingale institute elsewhere.
Influence on Nursing Abroad
Numerous Nightingale nurses found their way to the rest of the British Empire where they worked in hospitals, children’s hospitals, fever hospitals, convalescent homes and lying-in hospitals. Outside of the British Empire, training schools were founded in Sweden, Germany, France, Finland, the USA, Japan and Fiji. Nightingale advised Italy and Austria on how best to set up nurse training. The implementation of the system did not succeed everywhere, in the Netherlands for instance, physicians saw no use for it and opted for in-service training, which had the student-nurses living, working and training at the hospital. The Dutch did not appreciate the role of the influential matron.