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.
5. Tales of a Student Nurse: Classes Begin
We had all been dismissed for the weekend at 4 pm Friday, September 9th, 1967 after spending our first two days as student nurses at the Metropolitan General Hospital School of Nursing, in Windsor, Ontario. A few students, whose homes were far away, remained in residence while almost all my classmates and I went home for the weekend. “Well, what was it like?” my younger sister asked. My seven year-old twin brothers wrapped themselves around me, hugging me, kissing me, and telling me how much they’d missed me. I’d been gone two days!
I was the oldest child, the first one to leave home even though I hadn’t really left, had I? I was glad to see my family but I’d been home for less than an hour when I began wishing I could go back. The adventure had only just begun; I’d had but a tiny taste to whet my appetite. I was intrigued by what I’d seen so far, which was barely more than a drop of water in a rainstorm. I hadn’t seen the hospital wards, hadn’t met a patient, and so far had felt like a visitor in a strange land, not like a student who would one day become a Registered Nurse. The weekend dragged by slowly.
Around 7 o’clock Sunday night my suitcase was packed, my care package was stuffed with my favourite snacks and wrapped tightly in a brown paper bag as I sat looking out the window at our driveway. There they were! Four of my nursing school classmates lived in my area so our parents had worked out a car pooling schedule. My ride had finally arrived! Giving everyone but my Dad a quick kiss on the cheek – he got a bear hug plus a kiss – I said good-bye and hurried out the door to the waiting car. Next week, when it was to be my parents’ turn to take us back, I’d see if we could leave a bit earlier.