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6) Keeping coffee warm in the sterilizer

by Genevieve

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Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
Genevieve
People in story: 
Patricia Davies (Nee Cowling)
Location of story: 
North Staffs. Royal Infirmary in Stoke-on-Trent
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5179601
Contributed on: 
18 August 2005

On night duty there was a senior Nurse and a Junior Nurse. We washed all walls top to bottom, re-sterilised needles etc — we always sang whilst doing this. We were rendering ‘Maisie Dotes and Dozy Dotes’ one night and dancing around the table when a very regal figure demanded an explanation — the Matron!

When you first went on night duty you went and put everything ready in the kitchen, because you had to do the patients’ breakfast. Then you’d go around with your Senior Nurse and you’d treat all the pressure areas because you had to be very particular, of course, with the orthopædic patients and the other patients because they stayed in bed a long time in those days.

The Junior Nurse had to prepare all the dressings, cut all the cotton wool and pack the drums. We used to have huge centre tables, which were lovely, and the Senior Nurse used to put all the charts out ready for the Houseman to come round and write-up any drugs that the patient might need.

We had no fear of aggression on night duty; at the base of casualty was a porter shaped like a Sumo wrestler. His appearance and advance quelled any type of aggressiveness. There were also frequent calls from police and ambulance men who always knew we had coffee keeping warm in the sterilizer.

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Becky Barugh of the BBC Radio Shropshire CSV Action Desk on behalf of Patricia Davies and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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