Around 1900, nursing was still firmly in the hands of church orders, which were often contractually bound to hospitals and provided almost all the nursing staff. Only at a slow pace would non-denominational schools go on to be established: In 1899, the Swiss Red Cross founded its first school for nurses in Berne. Here, women would learn how to be carers for society.
In the 20th century, the nursing profession underwent professionalisation and academisation. The process took a long time: It was not until 1992 that the training regulations and content for nursing professions were standardised in Switzerland. Seven years later, there were the first female nursing graduates. Today, nursing is taught at vocational schools, higher technical colleges and universities.
In the 20th century, after successfully completing their training, nurses would still receive a nursing badge in addition to a diploma. It symbolises belonging to a particular school and establishes hierarchies. Auxiliary nurses or nurses-in-training do not wear badges. The emblem of the Red Cross Nursing School in Bern's Lindenhof bears the Latin lettering "Inter Arma Caritas" (Humanity between Arms) – the motto of the International Red Cross Committee until 1961.
"... always in the way"
Wax teaching aids
Not only doctors, but also nurses are required to recognise disease patterns. The necessary knowledge is imparted during training. Since the 19th century, mouldings have served as illustrative material: three-dimensional, coloured wax replicas that realistically reproduce diseases. In the 20th century, they were supplanted by colour photographs, but have experienced a renaissance in recent years. Mouldings often show skin diseases or also different types of infant stool, the assessment of which is important in paediatric nursing.
"... not the smartest"
Status symbol or work tool
At the beginning of the 19th century, doctors used simple wooden tubes for the first time to listen to the human body. In the course of the 19th century, stethoscopes took on the form that is still common today: a chest piece, flexible tubes and two ear pieces. It becomes the identifying mark of the doctor, who always carries it about their person. As early as the 1930s, nurses also used it to routinely listen to blood pressure sounds. In the 1960s, a pastel-coloured "nursescope" was even developed especially for them.
"... an important working tool"
How many nurses work at the Inselspital?
235 nurses (218 women, 17 men)
938 nursing professionals (893 women, 45 men)
301 hospital assistants and nurses