So Sian's suggestion for this month was ''Summer Lovin'' and I already had several ideas for my post. So today my post is about my love for nursing and how it all started, with a few silly stories thrown in. Oh yes and the title is a reference to the film 28 days later of course. No zombies in this post but an excellent film.............the follow-up not so much!
The Royal London in Whitechapel.
Bethnal Green Hospital as it is today - apartments on the facade remains.
St Clements Hospital front entrance as it was.
As regular readers of my blog will know I am a nurse although my friend Luke says I haven't been a real nurse for years............................yes he is obnoxious sometimes. Anyway I say Once a nurse always a nurse. So imagine yourself back in the summer of 1984, you've just finished your A levels, yes I am that old, and your family have moved from Sussex to Somerset. You are about to leave home and move to the East end of London. I was 18 1/2 years old and terrified. My only week at the new house involved unpacking and repacking my stuff ready to leave home. My first shopping trip to Bristol was to buy shoes. I sat sewing name labels into my pants..................for no good reason in the end. I think it a joke idea on the list.
I remember driving up from Somerset with my parents and sister all the way to Mile End hospital which was my new home for 6 weeks with fear but also excitement. The boot was full of my clothes, books, stereo and music and food. That was August 15th 1984.
The nursing home was attached to the hospital and was to be Set 489's base for the first 6 weeks of PTS where we learned all the basics we needed to work on our first ward. We went onto the wards to learn how to make beds with London hospital corners and the London hospital flick. One of the girls in our set bravely agreed to be bed bathed by our tutors and we practised injecting oranges with water. We also had lessons in making our hats which involved us folding perfect numbers of pleats in a starched semi-circle and scrubbing starch out of the hat ties with our toothbrushes.................very technological. Most nurses no longer wear hats.
The first weekend I was there our A' level results arrived and I passed but with terrible marks but we celebrated with a trip to pictures at Stepney cinema.
After 6 weeks we got our first ward placements, mine was a renal ward at The London Hospital 2 miles away in Whitechapel, so we moved down to The Luckes Home. This was a really old nurses home with many floors and long corridors of rooms with shared bathrooms where you could have a conversation with your fellow bathers as the walls didn't meet the ceiling. I decorated my room with postcards which I still have and prepared myself for first warder status. On my first ward I learnt how to really nurse patients, with care, understanding and consideration, I experienced my first death which was a huge shock and as it was a male ward how to deal with ill chaps when ur a naive teenager. It was a steep learning curve.
Throughout it all I had my 2 key friends, who are still friends to this day, Naomi and PJ. We lived next to each other on our corridor and our first night together we played my music and talked and talked before our first day of lessons. Naomi was a year older than me, feisty and fun and PJ was my age and looked about 15, all the patients kept saying she was too young to be a nurse. We lived on the same corridor most of the first year along with many of our set. The lady on the front desk ran a strict ship and doors were locked at eleven sharp. If u were caught with a boy in your room all hell broke loose although there were ways of slipping past her. All the nurses home were linked to hospital by specially constructed bridges so if you knew the way in you could get home late without getting into trouble.....................of course I was a goody goody and never did anything like that ;)).
During my training I worked on many different wards including orthopaedics, gynaecology, psychiatry, care of the elderly, paediatrics, theatres, cardiology, gastric surgery, general surgery, renal, oncology, and a few more which have slipped my mind. I worked in four different parts of the hospital The London, Bethnal Green, St Clements and Mile End. Lived in four different places and met hundreds of interesting and brave patient and their families.
We spent our evenings often in one of the local hostelrys but our local was really The Good Sams or else The Three Feathers hospital club.
the Good Sams.
Today The Royal London has changed dramatically with a mass of new, modern building and a helipad.
aerial view of todays hospital site.