Miss Mary Cochrane RRC
Its register was the first Register of Nurses in the world and
was the first to place in its programme the attainment of an Act
of Parliament for the State Registration of Qualified Nurses. Mrs.
Bedford-Fenwick was the principal inspirer and leader of this movement.
She was ably supported by that Great Matron, Miss Isla Stewart of
St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Lavina Dock, Assistant Director of Nursing,
John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, U.S.A., Lucy Osbourne and Mary
Cochrane. The struggle for the Act was long and hard; it took thirty
years and five Select Committees and attempts in Parliament before
an Act was finally passed, Royal Assent granted and it was placed
on the Statue Book in 1919.
The first Bill for the Registration of Nurses was put forward as a Private Members Bill in 1904. The second Bill for the Registration was promoted in the House of Commons and further attempts made in 1906, 1909, 1913, 1914 and 1918. Finally the Government introduced a Bill which was passed and became law as the Nurses Act December 23rd 1919.