In 1866 there were not more than loo Christians; official returns in 1910 show 178,686 Protestants, including 72,000 church members and probationers; and 72,290 Roman Catholics.
There were three classes - (1) sisters, (2) probationers, (3) nurses.
They live in a home attached to the institution, under a matron, and in the most modern establishments each nurse has a separate bedroom, with common dining and recreation rooms. Private nursing staffs are attached to several of the hospitals; they are recruited from the staff nurses and probationers on completion of their course, and supply nurses to private patients.
At St Bartholomew's, St George's, the London Hospital, St Thomas's and others, probationers must enter for four years, and at St Bartholomew's they have to pass an entrance examination in elementary anatomy, physiology and other subjects.
A large number of children's hospitals throughout the country give regular training in the nursing of children; they take probationers at a somewhat earlier age than the general schools; the course is usually shorter (one or two years), and the salaries slightly lower.