Memories, they say, cannot be accurate but are full of false perceptions and interpretations. But learning comes from reflecting on meaningful incidences. Over the years, reflection becomes analysis and results are used as anecdotes and exemplars in teaching. There are people within these pages and incidences which changed lives and my development as a nurse.
This memoir by its very nature can only provide snapshots of events covering 1964-1994, from first student days to sister and teaching. The rigid hierarchy, shift work and ethical issues were all considered.
There were conflicts. A caring attitude was necessary yet emotions had to be held in check. The intelligence to deal with complex situations safely was paramount but also a submissive attitude was needed in order to work within this hierarchical system. Role conflict was not uncommon in a profession which was evolving. The team as a support network became evident as a defence against stress. As a consequence, team disharmony became a source of stress. Inability to cope was seen as a fault in the individual and not the system. Burnout was not uncommon. Those who pointed out causes of stresses may be themselves accused of creating it.
The system of work, the method of work, the buildings, the personalities of some in senior positions, all impinged, often in a negative way, on both care given and the staff, yet problem areas may remain unrecognised or unacknowledged.
Always there was the feeling of wanting to make things better and the belief that higher positions would offer such opportunity.
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About the Author
The author worked for the NHS, the Army and briefly abroad, over a 30-year period. She obtained qualifications as Registered Nurse and Midwife, a Registered Clinical Teacher, a Nurse Tutor and obtained two science degrees from London University. She is committed to the NHS, recognising that health care for all is a fundamental requirement in a civilised society.