Nursing in the fifties

Anne West, 18 September 2018

Anne started training in only the second year of the NHS. She remembers a 58½ hour week with only one day off; being noisily hustled out of bed at 6.30; 3 in a room with only one wardrobe and a house-sister nicknamed Miss Hatchet. But also a lovely tutor who taught them about parts of the body they had never heard of. There was a fierce matron who had so many nurses “on the carpet” that there was a worn patch in front of her desk.

Nurses had to make their own caps out of white cardboard, spend hours making swabs and cotton wool balls and so much time cleaning medicine cupboards with ethyl meth that they sometimes became “high”. Syringes were treated for sharpness and re-sharpened if necessary! Then there was climbing in through the linen room window when late home from the nearby RAF camp. What a Carry On …….?


[Return to Welcome Page]