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Memories of a Student Nurse – The First Week
Posted On 02/18/2015 01:07:22 by yourchoice

It is over 50 years since I was a student nurse, but many events have been tucked away in a ‘safe place’ in my mind, assisted by the class reunions that we had every five years.

Some years ago, when I was working as a medical transcriber, I was often asked by staff nurses about my experiences as a student nurse. They were university educated, with limited practical experience during their education, and were interested what it was like to live in a nurses’ residence at the hospital for three years. They were amazed and amused, and I got thinking that it may be an interesting project to put some stories to paper, for my granddaughters to read.

As I was putting my thoughts together, I wondered if my friends on The Hill would like to read some of my experiences. This is my first story.

My high school credits had been upgraded with two summer classes, my application was accepted, and registration day had arrived. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but my parents were pleased that I decided to accept their offer of further education after high school. Not everyone in my high school was given this opportunity, and I recognized the privilege offered to me. The choices seemed to be quite limited; did I want to be a teacher, a secretary, or a nurse?

Arriving at the Nurses’ Residence with the required admission forms carefully filled out, we were greeted by a crowd of applicants with similar feelings of apprehension. There were ninety-one students in my class, and only the second class to move into the new residence beside the major hospital in the city. We were officially welcomed by the Matron in the spacious lounge of the Residence, and taken on a tour before escorted to our assigned rooms. The lounge on the main floor was for formal occasions, and we could ask for permission to play the grand piano there. We visited the Chapel, which we would be required to attend every morning before going to classes or to work, and introduced to the eight Beau Rooms, available to students to entertain their dates in a more ‘private’ setting. Hmm? Are these rooms ever used or are they there for show?

Each student was assigned to her own private room; a small, compact room, adequately furnished with a bed, used as a “sofa” during the day, bookshelves, a double-door closet, a bank of drawers, and an upholstered chair with a floor lamp was by the window. On the opposite wall was a bank of drawers, a sink with hot and cold water, and a desk with a top that opened to a mirror and space for cosmetics and personal stuff. On the wall was a signal buzzer, used by the receptionist to let us know that we had a visitor or a telephone call was on hold. The only phones were by the elevators, so it was always a quick dash down the hall to answer the phone call, or last minute look in the mirror before going to the main reception area to meet our visitor.

Curfew for newbies was 10:00 p.m., and that meant in your room with the door closed. We were warned that the House Mother would be patrolling our halls, and there would be consequences for ignoring that rule. 

We all spent a lot of time the first week, reading the Student’s Handbook to learn the rules and routine of residence life. Our adventure had begun!

Tags: Nurses Medical Classmates



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Viewing 1 - 4 out of 4 Comments

02/21/2015 09:59:11

Tell more!  Tell more!



02/18/2015 23:12:11


Ransom wrote:

You write well. I enjoyed reading this post. I had to grin when you mentioned you were a medical transcriber--- you have to have a very special talent to decipher the hen scratches of doctors! 

The "hen scratches" are bad enough, but the transcribing I did was from dictation tapes. Doctors are also good a mumbling or snacking when they are dictating. Sigh! However, I did enjoy the experience, and when I finally worked in one surgical clinic, I only had one doctor's style to deal with.



02/18/2015 23:00:42

You write well. I enjoyed reading this post. I had to grin when you mentioned you were a medical transcriber--- you have to have a very special talent to decipher the hen scratches of doctors! 



02/18/2015 04:20:32

My sister started nursing school in 1953.  It was Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing.  Her accommodations were similar to the ones described.  Her uniform was a blue and white checked dress topped with a starched white apron,  a student nurses cap, white stockings and shoes and a navy wool cape with a red wool lining and high military collar for winter.  Although there was classroom instruction, most of her training was on hospital floors.  Days off were few and far between.





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