Author Topic: Jersey Group of Hospitals  (Read 6117 times)

backman

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Jersey Group of Hospitals
« on: July 16, 2007, 04:24:34 PM »
 Having ended up in the glorious Channel Island of Jersey in the mid 1970s and endured the sweltering summers of the time,as well as the cut price alcohol,my training was somewhat up and down.As male students in the 1970s a friend who enrolled with me ,and I ,were naturally assumed to be gay and so to make us welcome the girls in our shared house took us out on the town to an outragiously gay pub in St Helier.We had to break it to them that we were however in fact both straight.
 I thoroughly enjoyed my training although male staff were not allowed to work with female patients(No mixed wards there) and so we tended to more time in Accident and Emergency ,some Outpatient clinics including the Special clinic and community placements.If truth be known we were still something of a rarity and there were huge debates as to whether we should do a Maternity placement.In the end we did spend some time there but the midwives didn't allow us to see much as they believed the mothers wouldn't want men involved in their care! The first birth I later got to witness was in fact my own son.
 As we were to do community placements the hospital decided that our existing uniforms would be inappropriate and sent us for made to measure suits from Burtons the Tailors.We thought this was great until they arrived with narrow lapels and drainpipe trousers at a time when the fashion was Flared trousers and really wide lapels! We looked like Mormons and tried to ditch these suits at the first opportunity.Probably the thing I remember most during my training was the laughs we had.We were forever playing practical jokes on each other,other staff and indeed the patients.Who remembers the Apple Pie bed  for the patient who whinged too much? At the end of every ward placement we would regularly be bundled up by the staff and thrown into a bath of cold water to drip our way home.On night duty we had a number of pranks we would play on neighbouring wards including dangling a water filled glove on string down to the window of the ward below us to tap on the glass near to where the staff would sit.This was the era of the grey lady and most old hospitals would have their own ghost lady glimpsed fleetingly down back staircases accompanied by odd noises and chill draughts.I certainly experienced some very strange occurances which caused the hair on the back of my neck to bristle!!!! I sometimes think that one of the things that nurses today may have lost in their sense of humour and as a result we suffer far too much stress.

More memories to follow.............

nursesue

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Re: Jersey Group of Hospitals
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 07:37:16 PM »
ah backman - I remember those days well. Our ghost used to inhabit the blood bank and we dreaded visiting late at night for emergency blood.  We used to phone the police to ask for  emergency supplies of biscuits and crisps from the late night garage when we were peckish on our night shifts. How things have changed. We are far to busy these days and practical jokes are now frowned upon. I can't wait for your next installment
rgds sue 

backman

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Re: Jersey Group of Hospitals
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 04:45:11 PM »
  In many respects training in Jersey was both limited and very encompassing at the same time.As we were the only hospital on the Island and the population size did not merit specialised services such as Neurosurgery,Radiotherapy,etc,all such as cases were shipped to the mainland for treatment.However as all acute cases had to come to us,there were occasions when we perhaps had a wider range of cases than a smaller DGH might usually expect.We often had to stabilise many trauma cases prior to being able to transport them elsewhere.

The hospital itself was(and largely still is) housed in an impressive large granite building dating to the late 18th Century.The main block had wards on two main floors with offices and clinics on the ground floor.A separate newer wing with A/E and private wards was on one side and a Nurses home which included the school of Nursing was on the other.The nurses home used to overlook the old Jersey prison on one side before it was demolished in the late 1970s and there was much gesturing at times between those incarcerated within both institutions! All nurses had to come back in to the nurses home through A/E after dark ,past the watchful gaze of the Night sisters and porters based there.This often led to scenes where Very very intoxicated nurses would attempt to look sober for the time it took to stagger past these guardians of morality.Attemts to walk men through to quarters were generally nipped in the bud by the portering crew who scuppered many an attempt to find True love! As the porters radar was directed at stopping male intruders this led to myself and male colleague having to confirm that we were in fact nurses on many occassions until we finally were recognised as being legitimate entrants to the hallowed territory! The upshot of this was that few people expected anyone to smuggle women into the Nurses home  and therefore my friends partner was able to enter unchallenged despite not being a nurse for several years.
  Progress in some areas often came slowly to Jersey and when I started we were still making our own sterile dressing packs using CSSD drums. I remember making cotton wool balls ,finding dressing towels and rewinding bandages on a winding frame.one of the daily duties was finding the Large ward sterilisers to prepare the stainless steel dressing and injection trays prior to use.It was an art to remove the steaming metal items from the boiling water with cheatle forceps without dropping them and having to start again or scalding oneself.Few if any disposables in those days but we wouldn't have dreamt of not using a sterile kidney dish when giving an injection( usually Intramuscularly as IV injections didn't really become common until later on) how many patients endured IM Antibiotics 4 times a day,at least we had gone over to disposable needles rather than having to sharpen and sterilise old ones!I do remember however that many of our insulin syringes were glass and that the intricacies of 40 strength and 80 strength insulin caused me brain ache! For a short time we also used glass containers for some IV infusions including some blood products and remember these made an awful lot of mess if anyone was careless enough to drop one. Much rubber tubing was still in evidence and this too was bunged in the ward sterilisers until it became too rotted to use any more.I particularly remember Irrigating bladders post prostatectomy using a variety of very obscure rubber items!!!

To be continued......

backman

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Re: Jersey Group of Hospitals
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2007, 10:36:12 AM »
 Probably time for a few more reflections.The School of Nursing in Jersey was located on the ground floor of the Nurses home next to the main hospital.In the school I remember Miss Annabel ,Miss Keeping and Ron Burrows and amongst our clinical tutors was Sheila Ilien.Ronnie Sylvester was the Night nursing officer and whilst extremely professional when required she had a wicked sense of humour.I remember her and some of the other night sisters frequently admitting the skeleton fron the school of nursing to a bed when the students were on break and then sending them to take their pulse in a darkened room upon their return. As a joke one night ,we had large cupboards for the bedlinen and we emptied a shelf into which I climbed and then shut the door just prior to the student returning from her break.She was sent to the cupboard to get some sheets and as she opened the door my hand  grasped her arm but unfortunately we had to explain the subsequent scream as a patient having a nightmare!
 The thing about the Channel Islands was the cheap cost of alcohol which led to the desription of Jersey being 80,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock! I didn't fully appreciate this until I went to work back on the mainland but one aspect was that routinely we added 50mls of absolute alcohol to each litre bag of IV fluid for our post opperative hip replacement patients.This was apparently to prevent the elderly locals going into alcohol withdrawls ,jumping out of bed  and doing harm to their new hips.When back in the Uk and proposing the same treatment I was regarded with horror! I gained considerable experience in treating liver disease,oesophageal varices and alcohol related traumas,particularly every night in casualty.We would also every season have the French farm worked who on returning to their farms worse for wear,stop for a sleep in the road ,only to be run over by a passing motorist.

 

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