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.
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.