This year, the student group Jan '57 of which I was a member, celebrates the 50th anniversary since we started our training. I seem to remember we actually started on 31 December 1956. We all gathered, some maybe like me wondering how I managed to be there at this very renowned hospital. Rutland House was our home for the next three months while we got to know each other and our two Sister Tutors - I think they were Sister Garner and Sister Reid. We spent our days there in class doing theory and practice and slept there at night. Stepping foot in the hospital itself was fairly daunting. We were eventually allocated a ward to do some basic nursing which often meant cleaning - especially the sluice - or potty rounds. I am not sure where we had our meals - maybe someone can fill that gap. The group - 28 of us - probably for most of us the first time from home. I still keep in touch with a few.
Once we 'graduated' from PTS, we were allocated to a ward for 3 months. Resplendent in our pink and white striped dresses, freshly starched aprons and collars and, the never to be forgotten, cap. A differnt cap for the 3rd year students. I think my first ward was 5C&D - and I have just forgotten the name of the Sister, but she was very superior to the new students and we spoke to her through a senior student or staff nurse. During the allocation, we had study days. Each year, we did 3 months night duty and in the second year, had one half of the ward to look after with a 3rd year to oversee us. A very terrifying experience at first, there were often very sick children and their parents to care for. For a little peace and quiet, many of us were sent to sleep at Rosslyn Lodge in Hampstead for our night duty allocations. A lovely house with garden but quite a trail on the underground when we came off duty in the morning - especially if you found you still had (as I did) the drug keys in your pocket when you were just getting into bed shattered - and had to trail all the way back to be greeted by a very irate sister. I didn't do it again though.
It was hard work and sometimes very rewarding, sometimes very sad and difficult having to care for a dying child and the parents - especially at night when there was little senior nursing support or medical support. I cannot remember exactly what hours we worked (maybe someone can remember)- long I do know and often with split shifts.
The heirarchy to those training now would be unbelievable. At the bottom of the ladder, we were expected to let even more senior students through doors first and in the dining room,the segregation continued. But we had some good times - free tickets to some of the London shows were often on offer and usually snapped up quickly and, of course, we had the big city of London to explore. After 3 years and 3 months, we became Registered Sick Children's Nurses and went our seperate ways, but all with lots of memories. It would be good to hear some of the memories and help me to fill in some of my memory gaps. So come on Jan 57 and all ex- student nurses from GOS, tell us some of your memories of those early days in your nursing career. Best wishes Pam157