A NEW RECRUIT’S TERROR – @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

It was on a busy night shift, on the male surgical ward of the first hospital I’d ever worked in. Still enrolled in my nursing training, I was nervous about everything.

That night, I was working with a male nurse and a female auxiliary nurse; both a good deal older and far more experienced than me.

The ward was full and very busy that night; but not too busy for the male nurse {Tommy} to start telling all sorts of scary tales that sent me into a bit of a spin.

Out of all the stories he told, one stands out all these years later.  The story of Mr. Danny Wright. Danny was a charge nurse, and, in those days, he was known as simply “Mr.”

Tommy told us that Danny Wright had decided to play a trick on the new porter.

A patient had died, so the nurse in charge called the porters’ lodge to ask for the porters on duty to come and take the body down to the morgue, known as Rose Cottage.  One of those porters was the new recruit.

In the meantime, Danny Wright zipped down to the morgue, laid down on a slab, and covered himself with a white sheet.  Unbeknownst to the porters, the very live patient was collected from the ward, and transported to Rose Cottage.

While the porters were opening the door to enter the morgue, Danny Wright began slowly sitting up from the slab that he was on.

“Have you got the time please?” he asked.

Terrified, both men dashed away, screaming, leaving the corpse sitting at the door to the morgue.  Danny Wright could hear them screaming to each other as they ran away asking, “What the hell was that?”

The newly recruited porter left the hospital that night never to be seen again.

After hearing that story, I was petrified that some prank or other was going to be played on me, being a new recruit myself.

Fortunately, it never was.

Have you ever been scared straight by a prank?  If so, did the memory of it stick with you years later as mine has?


Rest In Peace, Our Queen @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11

I wanted to share with my American friends at RRBC, my deep sadness of the death of our Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8th September 2022.

An early memory that I have of this splendid lady, was when as a schoolgirl, aged eight years old, we were all marched up to a street in Folkestone, to see the Queen returning from a trip abroad, by boat.

 As she sat in her open carriage waving to us kids, I well recall how beautiful this young woman looked with her perfectly applied make-up and lustrous outfit. I cannot remember who was with her.

In later life, I was asked if I would be prepared to go to one of the Royal Garden parties, held each year for those who had given service to the community. It was my nursing role that would have afforded me this honour. I went through the vetting process; did I have any I.R.A. connections, and other pertinent questions were asked.

 I always maintained that I was paid for the job I performed, therefore, I was no more deserving than the next individual who also served others. Anyway, I purchased an outfit in readiness for the trip – one that I can still get into thirty years later. In the end, I was not to be the nurse selected to go to Buckingham Palace.

I did not mind as I was delighted for the girl who was chosen.  She was a close colleague of mine.

Tonight, I think about how much I would have loved to have seen this amazing Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and our Queen, up close.


Joy G.

A Memory From 1965 @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11 #Nursing

What does one write when you have no idea of what to write that will be of interest to anyone?

Well, today I decided to have a go at it by beginning my nursing history series.

The beginning of my career started in 1965.  I had a strong desire to care for people, and nursing would enable me to do so.

Another reason I went into nursing was to remove my two-year-old son from the influences of my over-doting mother-in-law.  She was spoiling him rotten, and as a result, he was becoming a very naughty little boy.

The hospital where I began my training was close to my home, which we shared with my first husband’s mother.  Because she lived with us, it was difficult to keep my boy out of her clutches.  Fortunately, the hospital had a nursery, at a cost of two shillings a week.  This would enable my boy to be looked after in a different, more improved environment.

The training was tough.  I was only twenty years old and not long out of secondary education. My ability to learn and retain still existed, which was also helped by my strong desire to succeed.

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My training lasted three years.  I also worked part-time during that time – 28 hours a week.  I did well.

I was a night nurse and one of my memories of being in that position was the endless counting we had to do of all the bed linen, towels and bed socks.

One night while on duty, a night Sister rushed up to me and said, “Get down to Accident and Emergency right away!”

I dashed down the stairs to find a scared father standing in the corridor with a white, limp baby flopped over in his arms.  A Sister took the child and placed him in my arms, while she stuck her hand down the child’s throat and pulled out part of a baby’s dummy, which was blocking its airway.  When we walloped the child on the back, and to our relief, he began to yell.

The father stood there looking shocked and perplexed at what he had just witnessed.  I walked over to him and touched his arm.

“Tonight, your baby was saved by our lady in blue,” I said.

The sister, whose name was Nancy, and I became firm friends. Her nursing skills never failed to amaze me, and it was with great sadness that I learned of her death last year.

What memory stands out most to you from your early career years?  I would love to hear all about it.