Friday, June 13, 2008

Valerie Brent, ex-nurse Craig-y-nos 1946-48

Valerie Brent, former childrens nurse at Craig-y-nos

Rules and regulations

We were not allowed to ask for any time off. You had to accept everything you were given. You had one day off a week and to have a weekend off was very rare.

If you ever did get a weekend off you would have to have a very special reason then you would have to work a good ten days before you got another day off.

You could go out on you one day off.
Nurses were not allowed out in their uniform, you were not allowed to get married during your training. I had to wait until 1952 until I could get married.
Then I had to leave Morriston hospital because they were still not employing married women.

But I had completed my training.

Group portrait of all the staff before closure in the early 1960s

At the end of the working day

“In the nights we had a big log fire in the nurses home and a piano. Sister Jenkins used to play the piano. We had no radio or entertainment so we had to make our own. We had to be in bed by 10 o clock.”

We were “Marching through Georgia” every night and I thought OK I was quite young but some of the older ones used to say: “please can we go to bed now?” but she would insist on yet another song.
“Once more, once more” she would say.
Because of course she thought the evenings were long.

Post-war scarcity

Personal things were scarce in the post war period so matron used to insist that you bought your toiletries and things on the day of pay so that you wouldn’t take anything, not even a bar of soap, from the patients.”

TB patients and sex
Valerie left to go and nurse in Morristown hospital and it was there that she learnt about another side to TB, not one that she saw any evidence of in Craig-y-nos.

“TB patients were more inclined to be sexually active. Yes it is true, definitely true, it was never something we talked about because it was not the done thing but believe me you had to be very careful with the young men who had TB.”

Later life
Valerie went on to pursue a highly successful career in nursing before getting married and having children. She has written a book on her experiences called: “Life isn’t all kiwi and oranges”. (Published by Life story Services, price £9.99)

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