Comment

Jane Bates: The fear and fun of nurse training in the 1970s

From ‘public liability’ to running a ward in three years, Jane Bates has fond memories of her nerve-wracking yet rewarding student days 
Jane Bates as student

From public liability to running a ward in three years, Jane Bates has fond memories of her nerve-wracking yet rewarding student days

Fear, fun and flying by the seat of our pants: nurse training in the 1970s. I would also add throbbing feet, living on a diet of ward chocolates and no money for the tube fare home. Not much has changed, has it?

I cant say being a student was all pleasure; my first year was miserable because I knew I was a public liability, and I was homesick and felt out of my depth on the wards. But then most of us did. Im no quitter though and I made some marvellous friends who still are marvellous friends to this day.

Things improved in my second year as I realised people trusted

...

From ‘public liability’ to running a ward in three years, Jane Bates has fond memories of her nerve-wracking yet rewarding student days 


Jane Bates as a student back in the 1970s

Fear, fun and flying by the seat of our pants: nurse training in the 1970s. I would also add throbbing feet, living on a diet of ward chocolates and no money for the tube fare home. Not much has changed, has it? 

I can’t say being a student was all pleasure; my first year was miserable because I knew I was a public liability, and I was homesick and felt out of my depth on the wards. But then most of us did. I’m no quitter though and I made some marvellous friends who still are marvellous friends to this day. 

Things improved in my second year as I realised people trusted me, and the ‘public liability’ worry began to fade. In our day, hospitals were practically run by third-year nursing students, so I even started to trust myself by year three, forging ideas about my own practice and how fledgling nurses should learn. 

The responsibility was nerve-wracking though, and we were thrown in at the deep end too soon. Despite the crushing onus of duty on our young shoulders, we were very much under the thumb of our superiors, so I love the feistiness of the new generation of students.

I would advise you to respect experienced nurses and do all you can to learn from them. But don’t be cowed by the system, especially those who wish nurses to remain ‘invisible’. You are our future.


Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs