08/10/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Nursing in the Sixties – Scottish nostalgia

6b077da3-2447-48ee-bf29-9a4c5a0e50c0

Janet Strickland recalls the strict rules and hard work of nursing in Sixties Scotland.

There is, somewhere between the consciousness of the mind and the calm of deep sleep, a moment when memories come back to haunt the restless brain. The clarity of the pictures conjured up brings to life the sights, sounds and even smells of long ago.

The long lines of Nissen huts put up during the war were still being used as wards at the orthopaedic hospital. Nervously I entered.

Emergency Ward 10 was the ‘must watch’ programme in the early 1960s and there was I, straight out of preliminary training school and put on Ward 10! It was a long ward of thirty men and it was an orthopaedic ward, a lot had fractures from motorbike and car accidents, and TB spines.

Life on ward 10

The discipline was tight. Ward 10 was run like an army camp. It’s amazing looking back what we took in our stride. One day my pal Pat and I had made the thirty beds ourselves, short staffed as always. No duvets – all sheets, blankets and coverlets. Then a really snooty staff nurse took out a tape measure and measured each counterpane. One was one inch longer on one side and she made us redo all thirty beds. Nowadays this would never happen, but we just fumed and got on with it.

The patients knew this was my first ward. I’d never had a boyfriend and was straight from a convent school.  I can honestly say I received more education in four months on that ward than I had in my whole 17.5 years of life!

Strict regime

We did four-hourly back rubs where we went around with our trolley, the enamel jug, surgical spirit and baby powder and rubbed backs, heels and elbows to prevent pressure sores. If we ever had either a bed sore or plaster sore on the ward all of us, including Sister, were sent to Matron for a severe reprimand. We nurses were also often seen in the linen room rubbing our feet with the spirit and powder. Of course we waited till Sister was off duty.

When my rotation was up and I had to leave war 10 I did so with a heavy heart. I went to shake hands with sister and she said ‘Nurse, remember your place. Don’t you know that you do not shake hands with Sisters?’

But despite that and the hard discipline, the fun, laughter and friendships I forged in those days I remember fondly.

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY: Portobello in the Fifties

(image copyright Tuck DB Postcards)

 

Back to "Nostalgia" Category

08/10/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

The SS Elizabeth was lost off the coast of Burntisland - On this day in history

On 18 December 1661, the SS Elizabeth was lost off the coast of Burntisland, along with her cargo of Scottish ...


Historian discovers earliest reference of a Scottish ship sailing to America

The earliest documented reference to a Scottish ship sailing to North America has been discovered by a local ...


Glasgow scientist William Thomson Lord Kelvin died - On this day in history

Glasgow scientist Lord Kelvin, after whom the Kelvin unit of temperature was named, died on 17 December 1907 ...


Scottish singer Karl Denver was born - On this day in history

Singer Karl Denver was born in Springburn, Glasgow on 16 December 1932.


Other Articles

King James V - father of Mary Queen of Scots - died on this day in Scottish history

King James V, father of Mary Queen of Scots, died on 14 December 1542.


Scottish industrialist Thomas Blake Glover died - On this day in Scottish history

Scottish industrialist Thomas Blake Glover died on 13 December 1911, at the age of 73.


Anne of Denmark - mother of King Charles I - was born - On this day in history

Anne of Denmark, mother of King Charles I, was born on 12 December 1574.


Ten things you might not know about the Jacobites in the 1745 Rising

From the presence of gunmen at the Battle of Culloden, to the colours of the tartan worn by participants in ...