Perhaps surprisingly, we have relatively little access to information regarding the actual work the nurses did. In the earliest letters, decorum may have prevented nurses sharing detailed physical descriptions of illness. Later on, perhaps nurses had internalised the hopes of their employer to stress the more uplifting aspects of their time abroad. Colonial nurses worked in a variety of conditions, which changed according to location. A nurse might find herself in a fully-equipped government hospital, or as the only European nursing sister at a makeshift clinic in a remote village (Howell, 2014). This was particularly the case in the early days of the Colonial Nursing Association.

We have access to more detail from a personal document such as the 1960s scrapbook from Hong Kong, in which the nurse includes various material and information which convey the materials she worked with, items of interest from professional publications and information about education or places of work. However, the actual practice of nursing which was the true substance of her work still does not feature. 

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