Volunteer at Midhurst Community Hospital

As the NHS turns 70 Pattie shares some valuable memories of working in the the health services.

I remember working on the Emergency ward as a newly qualified nurse in 1954. The ward was a long narrow room with beds either side.

We never turned the lights off in the kitchen attached to the ward because at night the darkness would bring out the cockroaches which would provide a rather brittle moving ‘carpet’ for any unsuspecting person entering the kitchen.

In the middle of the ward was a desk where a nurse would sit under a single pulley light. If it was quiet, you might notice a plume of smoke rising from the cigarette she was smoking. Several of the patients around the ward would also be smoking.

However, the nurse would have to ensure that she confiscated the cigarettes from patients who had an oxygen cylinder next to their beds - some of them would be tempted to remove their oxygen masks to have the occasional cigarette.

My training was totally in hospital, hard work but my career in nursing brought me such satisfaction from beginning to end.