It's that time again and now forty years on we will all be gathering at Great Ormond Street today for the October 1972 set reunion, and to celebrate forty years as nurses. No matter what any of us may have done since, once you have trained as a Great Ormond Street nurse you stay as one for ever, and for those who may have missed the posts on dovegreyreader down the years, well... if you have a few hours to spare you will find them all here under The Sufferings of a Student Nurse.
Here we were, one day into uniform, rookies all and probably with little idea of what lay ahead once the days of Preliminary Training School were completed six weeks later ready to be sent off to our first ward allocations.
I was sent to do twelve weeks on Private Patients, which gave me a completely unrealistic expectation about the standard of snacks that might be available in a ward fridge at any one time.
By the time we were released onto the wards we had learned amongst other things...
How to do temperature, pulse and respirations whilst staring at the fob watch,
How to take blood pressures on tiny people,
How to test urine,
How to collect a stool sample,
How to fold and change towelling nappies, bath a baby and dress them appropriately,
How to feed a baby,
How to put on a gown and wash our hands and remove several layers of skin in the process,
How to make up a Milton sterilising tank
How not to put dirty flower water down any other sink but the sluice (pseudomonas aeruginosa)
How to work a sluice and a steriliser,
How not to touch a door to go through it but to nudge it with your shoulder (still do it now going into shops)
How to make a cot so that the nursery rhyme pictures on the counterpane faced the child (blue for boys, pink for girls)
How to wear a cape with panache (easy)
How to wear a navy gaberdine rain coat and storm cap with panache (more challenging)
How to fold those hats and keep them on our heads (one lean into the steriliser and all starch gone)
How to button the collar to the dress and then cope with blisters on the neck from the starch,
How to ditch the recommended K skip shoes and replace them with something slightly more becoming,
How to get out of bed the minute the alarm went and be on duty for 7.45 am,
But above all we learnt how to laugh and I am sure there will be a great deal of that today.
We also all quickly accumulated the GOS student nurse's badge of office, a clutch of nappy pins fixed just above the bib of the apron next to the fob watch, and to be worn with pride for the next four years and this being me of course I still have mine, in my little nursing memory box...
Imagine my surprise when I wound up that forty-year old Sekonda watch this week and that tiny second hand started ticking.
'Oh look, let me take your pulse,' I said to Bookhound (that brought back a few memories)
At which point I realised that were I ever to go back into uniform and have do this again my fob watch would need to be pinned to the hem of my apron, not the bib.
Tempus fugit and with it the 20/20 vision etc