Oldham School of Nursing Archive Site.

Cuffs, collars and caps.

150 years of nursing in Oldham.

Many of the trainee nurses ` nurse probationers` had joined the Nightingale ranks out of a sense of duty, a yearning, and even a calling with no thought whatsoever of monetary gain. For others it was a spirit of adventure which had driven them away from a life in the mill or as a downstairs maid. I doubt anyone of them had any idea what it was really like. Every single one of them were under the scrutiny of the ward sisters.

The sisters, their superiors, or so they thought, were strict authoritarian spinsters who had no other thoughts above getting the job done, whatever it was. Their main tasks were to follow the instructions from the all - powerful clinicians who paraded through the wards with an entourage of followers, and woe betide anyone who dare sigh, cough, talk or even break wind. The stench of faeces, stale urine, vomit and pus mingled with sulphur fumes from the coke fires made the patients feel nauseated. If they had entered hospital feeling well they definitely did not leave that way.

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Oldham School of Nursing Archive Site