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.

10 thoughts on “A Memory From 1965 @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub @4WP11 #Nursing

  1. Hello Patty, thanks for looking in. Bless you for the kind words. Not so sure about the sharpness though. My memory is so much worse and the recall well that seems to be missing a synapse or two.

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  2. Joy, once I thought I may have given eye drops orally to an elderly woman when I was a nurse aide. Two months working in a nursing home cured me from the desire to work in the medical field. Teaching was my calling!

    My sister Jan became a nurse during the same era you describe, and she wore a neat uniform and white cap similar to yours. Such outfits have become obsolete, at least in the USA. She worked very hard on hospital wards, but found it rewarding. Thanks for sharing the story of the baby saved from choking.

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    1. Hello Marian, Yes the outfits no longer exist over here I fear. Such a shame as they were so smart and we felt proud to ware them ! That baby was a lucky one to have Nancy around that night.Her quick thinking save his life.

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  3. Joy, my mother-in-law was a nurse, my aunt is a nurse, my nephew is a nurse, and my niece is a nurse. I love nurses! They are a special breed of people, and I prefer their care than I do to doctors, as they are the real champs, aren’t they? I will never forget the care I was given by the nurses when I had a surgery in 2015. I think that’s when my real appreciation for them grew. All they do for you when you can’t perform (the smallest of tasks) for yourself, is awe-inspiring!

    By the way, I always appreciate your comforting words when it’s time for my annual mammogram 🙂 I’m really anxious around that time.

    Funny thing, a few years ago, right before my annual, Joy said to me, “There’s *typically* no pain with breast cancer.” When I arrived the following week for my annual, the doctor said the very same thing to me… using the exact same words.

    Thanks, Joy!

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      1. Joy, you want a particular reason? I’ll give you more than that:

        1) I hate needles
        2) I once had a nurse to go home without pay so she wouldn’t have to draw my blood while I was in hospital. That’s how bad I am when someone comes near me with a needle. Even today, as old as I am, it’s not pretty dealing with me.
        3) My husband has to hold my hand and distract me when someone is preparing to stick me with a needle. I have never been stuck without him holding my hand.
        4) I hate the sight of my own blood, so you can imagine how I feel about other’s.

        Yes, those are pretty good reasons, I’d say! LOL!

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        1. Yes, I’d say that is difficult for you. If I were with you and doing that bit of nursing you would end up fearless I assure you. I had so much practice as I was an emergency departmental nurse for years. Many injections inflicted.

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  4. What a great memory you shared with us, Joy! I laughed at how your mother-in-law spoiled your son. Isn’t that what grandparents are wired to do? I admire you for choosing nursing as a career. You have a wonderful heart, and your mind is no less sharp today than when you were 20. Blessings!

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