When Emily began her training as a nurse Miss Margaret Huxley R.G.N. had just taken station in in Sir Patrick Dunns Hospital. Like Florence Nightingale, Miss Huxley revolutionised nursing, especially in Ireland. She had taken up her position at Sir Patrick Dun’s just before Emily began her training. Now doubt her methods would have impacted Emily’s early nursing days, and stayed with her all her life.
As part of her pioneering work she established Sir Patrick Dun’s School of Nursing as the leading Nursing School in Ireland. Through this school and in cooperation with other training schools she continually strove to raise the educational standards of nurses and by extension the status of nursing in Ireland and abroad.
Margaret Huxley’s obituary of February 1940 in the British Journal of Nursing
In 1883 she came to Ireland, from that time until her death all her interests were centred in this country. Her first post was that of Matron of the National Eye and Ear Hospital, Molesworth Street, Dublin, where she remained for less than a year. The Board of Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, having heard of her worth, appointed her their Lady Superintendent, which post she held until 1902.
Systematic training for Nurses was non-existent when Miss Huxley took up duty at Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, but it was not long before the Nurses trained by her were everywhere in demand throughout the country.
In 1891, while still Lady Superintendent of Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, realising the need for nursing care and medical and surgical treatment for private patients, she acquired an ordinary dweling-house and opened it as the first Nursing Home in this country. she formed a company to run it, and trained Nurses were appointed to staff it and at the same time, some of the probationers from Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital were sent there to gain experience in the care of private patients.
Miss Huxley worked ceaselessly for a uniform system of education and training for Nurses, and for State Registration. this book both time and money. In 1893, with the help of Dr. Richard Hayes, she was instrumental in starting a Central School where the nurses in training in a large number of the Dublin Hospitals received Lecture, and were examined. this school was ready, when State Registration came, to carry on and give all the theoretical truing required for the State Examinations, and it has proved of inestimable value to the nurses in training, and to the participating hospitals.
It is easy to see Miss Huxley’s influence on Emily career on many occasions. Years later, when Emily had officially retired from nursing she made a comeback, when her services were required. In 1913, when typhus broke out in an Irish speaking area of Connemara, Emily went to the fever hospital to lend her services, as she could speak to the patients in their native tongue, making easier for them to communicate, easing their suffering. That is only one example of many.