Sunday, August 24, 2008

Craig-y-nos – 1950 and no trained Sisters

Sister Rich with staff nurse ( unknown).

These photos, taken during 1949-1950 come from the collection of Mari Friend ( nee Jenkins) sister of Llywella Jenkins ( now deceased).

Does anyone know the names of the above staff?
if so email

Dr Carole Reeves writes:
Hospital inspectors from the General Nursing Council for England and Wales visited Craig-y-nos for the second time on 18 October 1950, having refused its application to be a training school for nurses five years earlier.

Had things improved?

The inspectors noted ‘several improvements’, including handbasins in the wards and crockery sterilisers in the ward kitchens. There were still four wards in the main building but the annexe had been constructed to house 22 women patients. There was in addition an operating theatre, X-ray department, plaster room, light treatment room, dental department, and out-patient facilities.

The number of in-patient beds was 136 of which 132 were occupied by 61 women and 71 children. The Patti Pavilion for 24 women was considered light and airy with modern bathrooms and toilets. However, the babies’ ward in the glass conservatory, which contained 30 cots plus 10 on the verandah, ‘appeared to be overcrowded’.

There were certainly more trained staff in 1950 than in 1945. The matron and 11 of the full-time nurses had qualifications, either State Registered Nurse (SRN) or State Enrolled Assistant Nurse (SEAN), as did the two part-time staff nurses. Interestingly, none of the ward sisters had the higher qualification (SRN). So, Sister Morgan, Sister Outram, Sister Roberts and Sister Powell weren’t really qualified to be in charge at all, except that they’d been in post for so long that their experience probably made up for some (but not all) of their scientific knowledge. Otherwise, why would they believe, as many did, that girl’s long hair had to be cut because it took the strength from their bodies!

Dr Williams and Matron Knox-Thomas said that they were anxious to have State Registered Nurses but there was little or no response to advertisements for staff nurses. In addition, there were 6 nursing assistants. The working day was very long by today’s standards – a day shift was from 7am to 8pm, with only one day off a week; a night shift was 8pm to 7am, with 3 weeks on duty and one week off.

Recommendation: that the children’s wards be provisionally approved for training pupil nurses from Brecon and Radnor providing they didn’t stay longer than 2 months, that they were supervised by State Registered Nurses, and that bedpan and instruments sterilisers were installed. Not much change in five years considering that, in 1948, the National Health Service took over the hospital from the Welsh National Memorial Association.

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