Hampson, Sara E.
An able and cultured woman, she assisted the master, W. J. Smyly (qv), in his reform of the hospital. She was the first matron of the Rotunda to have a nursing qualification (though there is no evidence that she was a trained midwife), and supervised the nursing staff and housekeeper. Appreciating the need to raise nursing standards, with great tact and judgement she reorganised and effectively modernised the nursing system in the hospital; elderly, untrained staff resigned or were pensioned off and replaced by young, trained, and uniformed nurses. A six-month training scheme was established, which attracted fifty-two pupil midwives in 1893, their fees offsetting the expenses of running the school, which became financially self-sufficient and earned an international reputation. The hospital committee of Dublin corporation gave a good report of the Rotunda, with its eighty-five patients and thirty-five nurses, after its inspection in 1895. Hampson organised a fund for the Thomas Plunket Cairns wing of the hospital (opened 1896) and was responsible for the purchase of furniture and equipment. On resigning (1896) she was given a £100 bonus in appreciation of her services, and in order that her contribution should be eternally remembered, Smyly commissioned Stephen Catterson Smith (qv) to paint her portrait (1903), which was hung in the nurses' dining room.
She was founding secretary of the Dublin Nurses' Club (1900), which became the Irish Nurses' Association (1904); established to provide a centre for the social and professional needs of nurses, it attracted 500 members in its first year. From 1901 to 1908 she served as the first lady superintendent of the Home Hospital (Portobello Nursing Home), Dublin.