Thursday, 12 April 2012

Knock Knock -- Nurses at the Door

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Soda.
Soda who?
Soda you like history?

Sorry. I went through my book of Knock Knock jokes on the weekend with my niece and nephew and I couldn't resist. But it is a legitimate question. Do you like history?

As someone who was raised with a dad who love to discuss and argue history, I've always been stumped when I meet people who don't care for history. Now I have made it part of my life's work to show them what they're missing.

I had some fun with that this week. So far this week I've had two classes of nursing students from the University of Lethbridge through on tours. We have a 3rd class tomorrow morning. The idea of the tours is to take them through the building and talk about the history of medicine but also the history of the building and community and what's a hospital tour without a few ghost stories thrown in? Most come because they're expected but they end of having more fun on the tours and learning more about their own profession than they thought they would.

We talk about Mildred Dobbs -- the nurse of the Isolation Hospital who worked 39 years without a day off while the hospital was open. We mention that it was once normal for women to spend 10 days in bed after childbirth -- usually on the stomach. We mention that the old operating room had windows because they couldn't always rely on the electricity. And that we know of at least two people who fell down the elevators -- one who survived (a nursing student) and one who didn't (a patient).

We have stories of how in the old Galt hospital the morgue was a little building behind and nurses had to wait there with a body until a doctor came to pronounce -- even if he was out on house calls and it could take hours.

And then there's the stories of the curfew that student nurses had to follow and the various times the fire escape was used -- even though they never had the fire. Or the matron who figured it out and cut off the lower rung of the fire escape ladder.

One of the reasons I particularly love sharing these stories with U of L nursing students is they are directly linked to the Galt School of Nursing. When the Galt Hospital closed the school moved to the municipal and then to the college and is now shared between the college and the university. These are stories that show how the nursing profession is one long family line and that there are things to learn from those who went before in the profession.

And I know that the stories of what happens to the blue scrubs (the students who were here the other day know what I'm referring to) will be part of the legends that will continue to be passed on about nursing students in Lethbridge.

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