Today is a special day for me. 30 years ago I started my nurse training at the Salisbury School of Nursing at the Salisbury General Infirmary, Salisbury in the UK.
Good old days
Those were the good old days when nurse education was hospital-based...none of those fancy degrees back in those days! We were taught lots about the nursing process...whatever the *** that was. And we started to move away from task orientated nursing to more individualised care planning. But there was not a lot of talk about evidence-based decision making...let's face it...as junior students, we did what the ward auxiliary told us to do.
How we did it then
I loved my nurse training. We all lived together in various nurses homes and I built some very strong relationships that still exist today. I met some incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated nurses along the way. I also came across some real witches...I can tell you. And even now, I still remember certain patients and scenarios that made an impact on my life.
Those were the days when you just got on and did it. None of this naval gazing for us. When I look back, I was involved in some incredibly heavy stuff, but we did our debriefing down the pub. We had amazing hands-on experience...by the end of the second year we were running wards. Life was hard...but there was a fabulous community spirit in the hospital...we all worked together to achieve a common goal...from kitchen hands and porters to medical consultants.
I didn't like A&E...I used to get real tension headaches when I was on duty...but I loved coronary care. I dreaded being in a 'crash call' situation and always disappeared behind curtains if it looked like someone was heading that way. I loved talking to patients on night duty...a quiet time when you had time to sit down and really talk. I loved orthopaedics although it was very hard work. Plastics was scary but fascinating. Loved medicine because of the challenge of making people well...or making their last days on earth as comfortable as possible. I also loved surgery...but hated working in theatres with a passion.
Once I qualified as a nurse, it was only a few months before I moved into midwifery where I have been ever since. But those few years in nursing taught me all about empathy...communication...caring....nursing care...how to work as a team...time management and organisation.
To my friends
"Thank you' to all those wonderful nurses I have learned from over the years...especially the 1980 Salisbury intake... Shelia, Jane, Sue, Celeste, Jean, Sharon, Adrian, Chris, Jackie, Becky, Debbie, Bridget, Caroline, Linda, Sarah, Julie and our tutor Rosemary Harris....and anyone I have forgotten.
My final thought...Geez! Has it really been 30 years?! Surely I cannot be that old!!??
Image: Salisbury General Infirmary: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48028479@N00/3551887856/