A career in nursing

Catherine Lane came to Griffith in 1961 to work as a nurse in the District Hospital's operating theatre, bringing this copy of Pye's Surgical Handicraft.

The text was in its 16th edition in 1952 and it seems incredible to see it was first published in 1884. Nurse Lane's own career saw her move to the Griffith Base Hospital's surgical ward before she retired in 1994. Just like the editions of Pye's manual, she would have seen many changes to operating procedures in her time.

Catherine Lane (nee Tweddle) started her nursing career on 1st January 1956 at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. It was a four-year course and students could not marry until after graduation. Nurse Lane became a midwife at Royal North Shore Hospital in April 1960 and at that time the Hospital was one that dealt in adoptions.

After arriving in the Riverina in 1961 to work in the Operating Theatre at Griffith District Hospital, she soon progressed to the role of Sister-in-Charge by October as no one else wanted the role. “I did not have a choice,” wrote Lane when donating these items to Pioneer Park Museum, as Matron Fox ruled the Hospital in those days “and she was the law!!!”

In 1985 Catherine Lane worked in the Surgical Ward at Griffith Base Hospital and she retired in 1994.

Catherine Lane’s sphygmomanometer was used to measure blood pressure. The inflatable cuff inflates to restrict and then release the flow of blood in an artery in a controlled manner.

The word comes from the Greek sphygmos (pulse) plus the scientific term manometer (pressure meter). The device was invented by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch in 1881.

Scipione Riva-Rocci introduced a more easily used version in 1896, and then, in 1901, Harvey Cushing modernised the device and popularised use within the medical community as means of identifying tension and other ailments.