Saturday, February 19, 2011

Looking Back

As I get older I look back on what I may or may not have enjoyed at the time, and see it with different eyes.
Age breeds wisdom, I realise I should have enjoyed those times more.

As a young seventeen year old I entered hospital trained nursing.
It was a huge Sydney hospital and very daunting.
The wards were known as nightingale wards. They were long with many beds.
This was one of the female wards from that time, in the very same hospital.

In this picture are two trainee nurses and one N.S.W. nursing Sister.
When Sister spoke you listened with eyes down and head bowed.
Hands were to be behind your back. (see pic)
I had a hard time with this as I am a laugher.
But disciple was the answer and one dared not, even smile.
The nurses in the photo above had hair showing from their cap.
My Tutor Sister forbid that.
Patients often asked me what colour my hair was.
I was never recognised out in public..

That dreaded cap. I still feel the terror of it.
Starched as stiff as a board, it ruined a young girls dream of looking stylish. never considered arguing or refusing to wear it.

   The class rooms were situated in the basement of the multi-story nurses quarters. 
The Tutor Sister was a fully trained registered nurse teacher, and ran the course in military fashion.

I refused to have a photo taken in my uniform. (not compulsary)
This is a deep regret today as nursing has changed so much and those yesteryear days are now history.

Graduation was four years down the track. This was when you received the veil of honour.
Now you were no longer called nurse. Your professional title became Sister.

The Queensland/Victoria veil      (Sister unknown)

Me (17) pictured at rear, with student nurse Shane on days off.
This photo was taken with a little Kodak flash camera.
Relaxing at the side of the nurses quarters.
Tennis courts and hospital are in the background. 

Of course nursing has changed somewhat now.
It went from being a certificate course, to a diploma and finally a degree.

I eventually went on to University and attained my B.N. in Australia.
(Three years full time Uni, and One year mentored new grad for first time nurses)
I sat Boards in the USA and equalled the BSN. 
Today in Australia we still wear a hospital uniform, but no cap.
R.N.'s here are gradually being called by their first names.
Some of us oldies, are still known as Sister.

AND, I believe the best medicine of all, is laughter.

                           "A cheerful heart is good medicine,
                        but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
                                             Proverbs 17:22
                            Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.
                                              ~Arnold Glasow~


  1. Wonderful - I love trips down memory lane. Thanks for sharing and serving.

  2. Such an interesting post. Memories are meant to be shared. So thank you!

  3. What a fun history of your study in nursing and fantastic pictures.

    Thanks for your sweet visit to my blog today.


  4. Those are some nice pictures, I'm sure that you are glad to still have them. I think it's really fun to look back at some of our older photos! I too believe that laughter is a great medicine! Thank you so very much for sharing!



  5. You would have to be so dedicated to become a nurse when you had to wear that cap! And to go thru all that discipline. My caps off to you for doing that.

  6. Wonderful post! I hope you're saving all these posts for your grandkids and their kids and so on. Just think if everyone passed down at least a short sketch of their life how much we would know about our ancestors.

  7. I am glad I dropped by tonight to read your wonderful "story". Everyone has one! But, what caught my attention was the wisdom with age. :) Yes, laughter no doubt can heal many ailments!

  8. Deano Bless you.

    Whidbey Woman, You do it well also.

    Glenda, Looking back it was fun. LOL

    Lon, Thank you for coming by.

    Barbara and Nancy, That word discipline LOL..we heard it often.

    Gorges, Good idea Matey..there is so much we could share, I do some.

    Karen, Laughter is great. It still gets me frowned at sometimes.
    May God Bless and kepp you all.

  9. Fascinating pictures Crystal! I will ring you this week sometime.

  10. I so enjoyed these photos, Crystal Mary. I must admit my jaw actually dropped when I saw that nurse's cap/veil. I dreaded a similar head-dress, but it was on the head of a nun! (Dreaded is a bit of an exaggeration; most of the nuns I knew were delightful.)

    By the way, I'm a laugher too and would have been hard pressed to keep a straight face in that scenario.


  11. Forgot to say that that is the most incredible photo of a kookaburra that I have ever seen!

  12. Oh Mary, how I loved that story, of course, being a nurse, I have a similar one. My best friends went into a hospital nursing program right out of high school, lived there and it was an entirely different picture than my own experience 25 years later in a college program. About 10 of my closest blogger friends are nurses. Blessings

  13. My 38 year old son is in in RN training now. One more year to go and it is so complex. I was a Medical Assistant and I thought that was hard enough. Great post.

  14. this was fascinating to me. Wow. It's like you guys became nuns....and the photos..interesting caps....thanks reading your historical posts.

  15. Wonderful stories that need to be passed on especially since the times are changing so much.
    You are so beautiful!

    Praying for you sister, hope all is well. :)

  16. Hi, thank you so much for this wonderful post! My Mom graduated from nursing school in Oregon in 1959 or 60 at Sacred Heart in Eugene. I remember her cape, her cap and her white uniform with white stockings. She retired 10 years ago, but still goes on medical mission trips to Guatemala. You nurses are very special people. Thank you. Oh, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment today too!

  17. Such marvelous photos and I too agree that we do look and think of things so much differently than when we were younger....

  18. Very interesting post...the pictures really added life to your story..Thanks for sharing.

  19. Wow! What an interesting piece of life history!!!!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! I love that Aussie talk!!! My dream is to visit Australia one day. And yes, I have something for you at my blog. :) (I was supposed to let you know that "personally" but I see you found out first! :)) I've enjoyed your blog, and the pictures and tales of Australia...I think my favorite is the twin koalas and the video of your mom.

    By the way, what part of TN is your hubby from? Mine is from Knoxville and I lived there 7 years.

    Blessings to you!

  20. Very descriptive post, Crystal. I remember that headwear, and the attitude the nurses had to maintian, and people almost afraid to move in their hospital bed.

    It is so different now, and both my son and d-i-l are RNs, they are at Royal North Shore now but plan on returning to QLD later this year.

    Blessings, Jan

  21. Well sister - sister (do you get that?) that was a great story from your past - extremely interesting. Love, sandie

  22. The best medicine is certainly laughter, what a great trip down memory lane. It is such a different world now. There were disicpline and respect back in your days. Love your picture at seventeen,so cute:)

  23. Have you ever read "Violets for Mister B" by Margaret Jensen? It is about a nursing student's first year of school. It has been a popular read in our library.

  24. This is an intriguing glimpse in to the training of a nurse in Australia at that time.

  25. Oh wow, this is an amazing post and I love the pic of you and your friend...It is so interesting! Especially about the nurse's cap...I can just imagine that you didn't want to wear it!

    And yes, laughter is truly the best medicine...
    Sending (((hugs)))),

  26. I was just given 4 old notebooks from a woman who became a nurse early part of 20th century. Classroom notes. Included are photos of her in her uniform. She had to wear a cap, but oh my nothing like these. That first one just looks uncomfortable and the second impractical.

  27. I love reading about your nursing career, a true servant. And then to go on helping people is truly a life dedicated to God.

  28. This is so interesting Crystal Mary. Great pictures, and we all would do many things differently if we had the chance to go back and do it again. It's wonderful to have these memories and it is educational for those of us reading your post. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

  29. Hi Crystal Mary,

    Thank you so much for sharing a part of your life and experiences. My daughter is a nurse and I believe women like you who entered the profession before her, paved the way; enabling her and so many others to succeed and love the career they've chosen.

    Blessings and peace.

    Anche se noi siamo tanti, sparsi in miglia e miglia di geografia, siamo in Cristo


  30. This is so interesting, I have never heard this before.
    God Bless,

  31. Wonderful post!
    I really enjoyed...
    Sweet Blessings,

  32. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing your great pictures and memories. I love the music playing.

  33. Wow Mary this is pretty interesting story. I don't see a nurse wearing a cap now and also their uniform is called scrubs? When I visited somebody in a hospital I don't know who is who, hehehe kind of weird huh! But I tried to look and read what is written in their id or name plate, lol! Thanks for sharing! Happy weekdays

  34. Thank you Crystal Mary for sharing these wonderful memories from the past. I think that we all look back on our past when we get older. I know there are a lot of things I might have done differently but at the time I thought I was wise and doing the right thing. I now only think of today and the future with our Lord Jesus. God bless, Lloyd

  35. Nursing is a beautiful profession and I bet you were a wonderful nurse. It is interesting how you got started. Praise God for laughter; it is so healing!

  36. I never thought of it until reading your post, but Hats+Uniforms are a form of disguise I guess.Creating a distance between Nurse & Patient. A Mixed Blessing I Guess......And,your right, a Smile never hurt anyone!
    Great Photos!

  37. I remember nurses wearing those little caps when I was a little girl, but for Pete's sake! I don't blame you for wanting to laugh!!

    Honestly, this is so interesting, and thoughtful. I can't imagine not being able to smile...

    God bless you for being "who you are".

  38. Great post and scripture. A crushed spirit does dry up our bones.

  39. What an awesome post. Oh, I wish you had gotten your picture taken, too, so you could show us that!!!


Please take the time to leave a comment. I enjoy reading your replies. Often you encourage or teach me something I need to know. Life is full of wonderful surprises, so go ahead and AMAZE me today.

Dio ti ama così siamo connessi.