As I said in my previous post there was a good working relationship between the nursing staff and the other medical professionals.

The consultants’  rounds were still very much like those shown in the “doctor in the house” films and took place on a regular basis.

The consultant would arrive on the ward with his “firm”,  registrars, housemen and students. They would be met by the sister or staff  nurse (whoever was in charge),  and then they would all progress around the ward, visiting their patients and making any changes in the treatment etc. and teaching the students. Usually one of the student nurses was also allowed to go on the round too and we learnt a lot from it.

The consultants were all courteous to both patients and staff. They usually wore suits and some of the older ones still wore pin striped trousers and sported small flowers in their buttonholes.

When I think back the Physicians tended to be more formal and some of the Surgeons were quite flamboyant!

When I was very new I was on the corridor one day, struggling to unhook a large bag of dirty linen from its trolley, when the gynae consultant approached with his entourage. The medical students were set to walk round me when a booming voice called out, “Halt!”  To my intense embarrasment the whole group came to a halt by me.

“Never pass a damsel in distress,” he boomed. “Can’t you see this young lady needs help?”

As two of the students swung the bag down the laundry chute he added, “One day this young lady may be a sister and you will be glad if she remembers the day you helped her!” 

With a beaming smile and a slight bow he resumed his march along the corridor, leaving a rather bemused student nurse. 🙂

At Christmas the consultants would visit the wards on Christmas day  and sometimes brought their families in too. Often they would stay for Christmas dinner and would carve the turkey.

On my last Christmas, when I was working on a gastro-enterology ward, we had both medical and surgical patients and one of the surgeons made a spectacular entrance. He was wearing a caped coat and his daughters followed behind, also wearing Victorian style clothes,  and carrying baskets of presents which they distributed to all the patients (not just his own patients)

We grew up with the medical students, they came to our dances and we went to their parties. Many nurses married medical students. We were such an enclosed society I suppose it was inevitable.  As Christmas came around they would suddenly become very attentive to the nurses in the hopes of getting a  much sought after invitation to matron’s ball. Some of them were very mischievous and the authorities tended to turn a blind eye to most of their pranks. In later years it was very strange to see some of them on TV giving interviews etc and remembering these eminent gentlemen when they were students dressing up as nurses or lying on a stretcher pretending to be fractious patients.