Prologue, Tales of a Student Nurse
Tales of a Student Nurse is a collection of stories based on my memories of experiences I had while training to become a Registered Nurse. It was a three year program, from 1967-1970, at the Metropolitan General Hospital School of Nursing in Windsor, Ontario. Until 1974, the majority of Ontario nurses were trained in Schools of Nursing situated in general hospitals. Each of these Schools required students to live in residence for two of the three years it took to complete the program. The stories are true, the characters existed, but all names have been changed except for mine. I hope the reader will enjoy my memories in whatever order they are read, but I recommend starting with Tale # 1 and following through in sequence, as some of the stories build on previous ones.
4. Tales of a Student Nurse: The Tour
Alice, Zoe and a couple of the other Big Sisters – the second year students who we juniors were paired with – took us, their Little Sisters, on an unauthorized, unofficial, first tour of the nurses’ residence and the tunnel linking it to the hospital premises. The Director and instructors would be guiding us on the official tour in the next day or so, but our Big Sisters felt compelled to ensure we got the unvarnished and candid version from them first.
The tour started in the Grey Room, where we had all gathered that morning on Registration Day September 8, 1967. It continued on past the apartments of the Director of the School of Nursing and of the House Mother, both of whom lived in the residence. While performing administrative duties for the School of Nursing, the Director also participated in the roster of Registered Nurse instructors who provided classroom lessons to the first and second year students. The House Mother, of course, lived in the residence so she could effectively monitor the health and safety of the nursing students living there.
We carried on to the basement which was comprised of three classrooms, the student lounge – an open area at the east end of the basement – and a large L shaped dining area adjacent to the lounge set up with tables and chairs where we would have our meals. Students were welcome to use the lounge space after classes and also for informal meetings, recreational activities or just to relax in. The combined lounge and dining area doubled as a dance floor when the student nurses’ Social Committee decided to host a theme party, or an on-site dance.