Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Cynthia remembers strict nursing, the verandah, and snow

Someone mentioned the authoritarian approach to care at the hospital and I appreciate just what they mean. It is so difficult to recall how different life was 50 or60 years ago for everyone. I suppose it was a hang on from the Victorian, Edwardian periods when everyone had their place and knew what was expected of them. As junior nurses, and remember we are talking in months, and at most a years difference in their length of training, if the 'senior nurse' said 'jump', we said 'how high?'.

On one
occasion we arrived off duty in the sitting room to find notes on all the best chairs saying 'Reserved'. As it happened Matron Downs had followed us into the room and asked what all this was about. We explained that these were the senior nurses' seats. 'Nonsense' she shouted, and ripped up all the notes and left. We still knew not to sit on those seats or risk a 'cold bath' fully clothed in possibly our last clean uniform. Cold baths were the 'norm' for any nurse stepping out of line.

Nurses on Ward 2 (Big Boys), left to right Rosie Ward, Dorothy Johnstone, ??, Christine English, and Val Tanner. There were nurses came from Rothwell hospital for some of their training I wonder if they will see the blog and join in.

Jock Corbett, the Nurse Tutor

Another person recalled sleeping under the verandah. This
was the 'norm' for any bots on ward 2,(Large boys.)However they wore wind-jammers and balaclavas and were allowed hot water bottles.The staff had to make the beds on the verandah even when it was snowing and we were not allowed to wear cardigans. We were treated the same as the patients. I do not recall any member of staff going down with TB!

Does anyone remember when it snowed.The nurses would clear
a path to the ward to help Joff get the meal trolleys in and the snow we cleared was used for snowball fights. The beds were covered with long mackintoshes and snow piled on the boys chests. They were supposed to wait for the signal to start but I believe that was just in theory. It certainly never happened in practice! When the battle was over the boys were taken into the wards for a bath and breakfast.

Big boys under the verandah, Ward 2