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STUDENTS TO NURSES BACK IN THE 1950’s…

With so much in the news about our nurses and students joining the front line straight from college, I found it really interesting to read the sort of adverts that were out in the 1950’s to get students to become nurses.

One such advert started by telling you a story…

“Vigil….3am. from the dimness of the word, a low voice calls Nurse! Quickly but silently she moves to the bedside perhaps to adjust a dressing or merely to give a cooling drink or perhaps to deal with a serious change in the patient’s condition’.

Her training gives a Nurse competence to deal with any situation. Nursing is a responsible form of work and training would give you the confidence to be a nurse. There’s a future in Nursing under the National Health Service. Training allowances start at £100 a year, superannuation for all 28 days paid holiday. Opportunities for promotion at home and abroad. Fill in the form to receive details of the FREE nursing training.”

An article in the Nursing Times about nursing back in the 1950’s said “Getting to know the patient as a real person was one of the benefits of being a nurse in the 1950s, says Mary Walker, aged 77. Ms Walker started training the year the NHS began and qualified as a nurse in 1952, working at Barts Hospital in London, where she was later a ward sister.

I couldn’t say our training was perfect,’ she says. ‘You had to learn as you went along and you mostly learnt on the ward from your experienced seniors. ‘Nowadays nursing has changed so much. Our patients stayed in a long time and you really got to know them. Our greatest privilege was to consider the whole patient and their comfort. There’s some excellent nursing now and it’s become very challenging. There are different needs now.’

My late mother-in-law trained to be a physiotherapist in the late 1940’s and treated many a war veteran and she wrote her story ‘ Fate Takes Two Hands, Memoirs of a Physiotherapist’, The Book was hand written in quite old fashioned writing. There were no paragraphs or chapters and considering I didn’t even get an ‘O’ level in English I still somehow managed to put it together. It was a promise I had made to her that I would one day get it published for her. She was a spritely lady who would help anyone and was still treating patients in her 70’s.

Her memoir is based on a true story a heartwarming tale of a wartime working life of a physiotherapist during World War 11. Born in Manchester in 1916, Merle went to a pantomime with her parents at the age of seven, to see Peter Pan. From that day forward she set her sights on being on the stage with her name in lights. However, her mother and father had other plans for her. Merle tried every trick in the book to avoid going down their chosen career route. That was until she met Audrey, who changed her direction in life. Merle shares her love, loss and friendships to pursue her dream of a career as an actress. Separated from her beloved family she bravely endures a trip on her own across the world to be with her loved one and finally to become a physiotherapist and make her father proud.

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