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GOSH - Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children

Started by wilfb, August 21, 2007, 02:32:06 PM

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Welcome! I believe that there is a demand for this board. I am keen to hear reminiscences and or current news from nurses from GOSH on this board - having met one or two of you in person. Please do tell us what it was/is like to nurse there. I already have a photograph of a PTS group and will put this on the main site as soon as I can. That should be a really good topic of conversation...



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


Whilst never having trained at GOSH - I remember the training methods well. We used to have to stand up when a senior member of staff walked into Sisters Office or in the training school. We worked a 40 hour week including the dreaded split shift!! We had both early splits and late splits - if I remember (well I am backdating to 1978) it was something like 07.30 - 13.00 then 16.00-21.00 hrs. One Christmas we were invited into Sister's office for a carefully poured 5ml of sherry in a medicine pot to toast Xmas but we had to have a biscuit so we didn't get drunk. How things have changed. We had task allocation like tea round or observation round - back rounds(or pressure sore care rounds) were a strict 2 hourly occurance and every patient was lifted and pressure area care given (no hoists in those days). During my genearl training in the early 1980s the hours were reduced to the current 37.5 and task allocation made way for total patient care and split shifts were abolished. We worked hard but boy o boy did we party hard and the 5ml of sherry now seems a distant memory ...............
Yes I am still a practicing nurse but the good old days under the GNC were hard and rewarding and I'm far more millitant and less idealistic these days


Have just found this site and reading the entries brings back many memories.  I trained at uch  from 1973 - 76 and was seconded to GOS for my paediatric module. I was there for 3 months and was based on 7AB.  It was the private ward at that time and a majority of the children were from abroad sent over from their counties with very rare conditions which were only dealt with at GOS.  I learnt such a lot there,and my fellow students were lovely.  It was very hard work but i do  remember being terrified of the unit matrons, who would loom up at you on night duty and demand to be taken on a ward round, and god help you if  you did'nt know name age diagnosis and treatment of every child in your care!
They were still happy days!


Having had experience from different angles - student nurse, ward sister, clinal teacher - I still think our training at GOSH had more positive aspects for students and clinical areas than more recent alternatives. After our 3 month PTS, there was a study day each week for a period of time before the next study block of maybe a couple of weeks. From my (students) point of view,they gave us chance to study the theory related to what we had seen on the ward, discuss what we had seen or go back onto the ward and see what we had studied or put into practice what we had been taught in the "practical room" - many years later these were abolished as it was thought better to practice on the wards under supervision though debatable whether this was in the best interest of the patients or just pairs of hands on a busy ward. The practical room also gave us confidence in handling equipment before being let loose on ill patients (in our case often very frightened and sometimes very ill children and their anxious parents watching also very nerve racking for the student too). Other good points about study days, a later start to the morning, time out from a quite often stressful nursing experience (although usually enjoyable and rewarding) on the wards, proper meal breaks, time to catch up with friends, have a joke, chat about our ward experiences, good and bad, a rest for ones aching feet(but not for the frantically writing hand)and energy to go out with friends to a show, meal or window shopping in Oxford Street.There were some very strong and lasting friendships made through living in and supporting each other through good and bad experiences in our working and social lives. it was indeed hard but very rewarding in the 'old GNC days' Sue.


Hi all the Jan '58 set!

See our photo on this site.  We are coming up to the 50th anniversary of starting our training together, on 30th December 1957 (where has the time gone?) and are planning a reunion on Saturday, 2nd August, 2008, in London.  Celia is very kindly organising a hotel for us all to stay at - contact her at celia.white1 <at> for full details.  She has also arranged for us to have a tour of the hospital as it is today.  If you haven't been there recently, you will hardly recognise it!
We have had reunions in the past - the first after 21 years, and a few more recent ones.  It is lovely to sit around and swap anecdotes and have a good laugh at how we were back then, the scapes we got into and the children we remember, not to mention Matron and various sisters.  Also to catch up with what we have been doing since 1960, when most of us got our RSCN qualification.
We would love to find some of the others in our set. so please get in touch if you find this forum.
Also, you may find this website of interest as it gives details of GOS and its staff and patients from 1852 to 1914, some with detailed case notes -
Celia and I look forward to seeing you in August.

Your group photograph is at:-
A Named version at:-


hi  :)

i trained as integrated RGN/RSCN nurse 1987-1991. i am about to emigrate to oz and will need my certificates to get a job over there, but guess what.... i've lost them on my travels!!!!  ??? :-[

can anyone help as to where i would get copies from now that the charles west school of nursing no longer exists!!!!

thanks alot. ;)


I am sure if you apply to the Royal College of Nursing <>, they will show you how to apply for the necessary documents.  On their web site they say that, since 2001, the statutory body of nursing in the UK has been the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) ,<>.  One or the other will help you, I am sure.



We hope that the large number of readings og the GOSH posts means it is of interest.

Your help is sought....

We have photographs of two Gt Ormond St PTS groups displayed on the Schools of Nursing News pages (November and December 2007 - Links are in the archives -, but we desperately need more photographs (emailed is fine we don't want originals).

If you can help please either just send the photographs - contact us via email or (members) the messages link on the members list page. We will handle any copyright issues.



I spent 6 months in 1959 during my 3 years and 3 months training escaping from busy London to the beautiful Surrey countryside and Tadworth Court.  Some enjoyed it, some didn't. I did.  There were three main wards – House, Pavilion(P1) and ZM – I am not sure what that stood for.  Many of the children there were in hospital for a long time and  it certainly put roses in their cheeks (as it did us student nurses) being taken for walks around the grounds. We wheeled some of the children round in long heavy spinal carriages.. What a change from the hospital in London where the balconies were the only place you could get a breath of questionably fresh air.

The kids made the experience for us – some were more than a little hospitalized and could be quite a handful – but we got to know them well.  And it could be quite noisy as some were not finding ill but needing longer term care – often for orthopaedic problems.  I remember one little boy who used to just love banging on a drum – sometimes we would like to have known and spoken to the person who gave it to him!.  I think we still worked split shifts and sometimes were required to be on duty at 06.30 to help night staff to get the children washed, dressed and start breakfasts.
But we woke ourselves up with a glass of hot baby orange – wonderful. I think we enjoyed it more than the children. The wards were long and quite big compared to those at GOS and those in wheelchairs could have great fun.

We had fun as well and off duty, I remember going to the Derby at Ascot. Only a short walk and I think some of us were working nights, but we were young and could manage with a lot less sleep then.  I spent my 21st birthday in Brighton. A group of us went down there and I seem to remember being unceremoniously treated to 21 bumps or as many as the others could manage.

As many of you have said, it was hard work, discipline was strict, uniforms had to be worn correctly, some of the sisters were dragons – or so it seemed to us then – but it was enjoyable and we had lots of laughs along with the children we were caring for and their families.

Does anyone know what Tadworth Court is now?




I have just been looking at that part of the UCL site covering the history of Gt Ormond St Hospital (GOSH). Super. Anyone interested in the history of nursing at this hospital should have a look:-




A reunion of four student nurses(one now living in Australia, one Crete and two in England) from Jan 57 student group in August brought back many memories – all remembering different things – good and not so good.  We managed to talk and laugh our way through the whole weekend with the necessary fluid refreshments and food. A wonderful weekend, celebrating 51 years from becoming fellow students and our 70th birthdays.

One of the most enjoyable but exhausting times was Christmas.  Very few students got days off or holiday but it was fun to be at the hospital with the kids and their families. We were in walking distance of Oxford Street and even if we did not have much money, it was great just seeing all the decorations and the festive spirit everywhere! All the wards were decorated with their chosen theme just a few days before. There was a lot of competition to be the best.   As many of the children as possible were given at least Christmas Day at home but many were too ill or came from too far away.  It was difficult for the families at this special time especially those with other children. One of the children's play rooms on each double sided ward was made into a 'den and retreat' for the staff where we could relax, eat together, be served by Sister and Staff Nurses and enjoy some of the gifts given by grateful families – chocolates and biscuits in profusion and sometimes even an alcoholic drink – under strict supervision of Sister. Our Christmas Dinner was usually a few days before Christmas. A big occasion mainly characterised by Hilda, the 'boss' of the dining room, parading the finding Christmas pudding around the dining room while we banged our spoons on the tables and shouted "We want Hilda".

Very early on Christmas Eve morning, traditionally we donned uniform and cloaks and went off to Covent Garden to get greenery to add to the decorations. It was usually bitterly cold and on return after a hot drink, we were on duty.  Christmas Eve we went round the wards carol singing with lanterns wearing our cloaks (red side out) – a wonderful experience and followed soon after by the Christmas midnight service. We fell into bed for a very few hours ready for being on duty again at 07.30.

Business as usual on Christmas Day but there was usually a full complement of staff so we were able to share out the work and have a little time to relax.  We also had chance to visit other wards. Father Christmas did his rounds, of course, as did Matron and the doctors often accompanied by their families. The turkey was usually carved by the Consultant or Registrar on each ward.  The children and their families were helped to join in the festivities as much as possible.  It was, indeed, a lovely sight to see the smile on a very ill child's face when Father Christmas arrived with his sack of presents. The day usually past very quickly, and tired children ready for an early night and so were we. After Boxing Day every thing quickly returned to normal and the wards looked quite empty for a while without all the Christmas décor.

I wonder how much it has changed in 50 years?


The hospital is 160 years old this year and some interesting articles on the history of the hospital and how surgery and nursing has changed can be found here  I do recall some of the medical consultants but as a student was expected to keep out of the way when they were around!

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