Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery

My Grandmothers Nursing Journey by Daniel Gooding

I had always wanted to be a nurse and as a 12 year old I joined the local branch of the British Red Cross as a cadet. This introduced me into the basics of First Aid, Nursing, baby and Child Care, Anatomy and Physiology and Safety of Medicines all this alongside the worldwide work of the BRC and its call to assist in the field of disaster events e.g. flooding, earthquakes, War. I gained the award of The British Red Cross Junior Grand Proficiency medal just as I was about to leave school at 16 in 1966.

Grandma comment; From a young child I had an empathy for any person or animal that was ill. My dad said that I would either become a nun or a nurse. I loved my junior time as a cadet and enjoyed my time on a Saturday and Sunday afternoons helping to run the First Aid Hut at the Earlswood lakes.

Bishop Bronscome School – In my last two years at school I was the First aid prefect my job was to help with any break time injuries and keep the First Aid Room clean and well stocked.

East Surrey Hospital – I started my nursing career as a Cadet Nurse working in the Out Patients Department but (Mainly running around doing tasks for the staff) ,the advantage for me was that I was able to have 2 days at college .

The East Surrey Hospital in the 1960s was a cottage type hospital and I of course still lived at home

Grandma comment ; I started on £22 old pounds per month my first wage was used to pay back my mum for the Brogue black lace up shoes and the navy blue mac and berry That we had to wear when out and about. The department was dark and dingy green walls from floor to ceiling, the place smelt of steam as we spent a lot of time washing dirty instruments and equipment that then went into the water sterilising pans.

Epsom and Cuddington District Hospital

In 1967 I applied and was accepted as a Cadet Nurse at Epsom District Hospital this was and still is a large hospital that had a medical annex at Cuddington near Ewell. I attended Ewell College twice a week on the Pre Nursing Course yet again working in different departments in Out Patients within the 2 hospitals, and received the Cadet Nurse of The Year Award

Grandma comment: On 10 January 1968 I was at last able to start my Nurse Training and got my first experience of working on  wards at Cuddington Hospital working 8 hour shifts. I loved the work and being a Student Nurse. Our Training group consisted of 8 Students and 2 tutors. Our training school was based at Cuddington Hospital in the country next to a golf course. I remember there were no interior corridors each ward was detached with entrance a large linen cupboard and kitchen the men’s ward always on the right and women’s on the left with long Nightingale wards. This time learnt so much about caring for sick people and quite enjoyed doing the “back round” and chatting to each patient whilst checking for redness on their heels elbows and bottoms and making them comfortable.

Working between the two hospitals made the training variable, however I did like the medical wards at Cuddington.

I qualified as a State Enrolled Nurse 09.June 1970 and continued at Epsom District until I married in September.

Student Midwife Sept 1970 – July 1971

 I then moved to work Redhill General Hospital to start part 1 Midwifery Training. I had just completed the first part of the training when I realised I was having a baby so opted to change direction and training so I was able to work in the Special Care Baby Unit this I did until 1975.

Grandma Comment: I loved my work with the tiny and sick babies I marvel at the technical equipment now used, our incubators still look the same but I am sure there have been many technical advances. As you mum had been born I changed my shift to 7 hours by working 4pm to 11pm five days per week.

Marie Curie Nurse Palliative Home Care. 1975-1977

Needing to have a more flexible work arrangement with 2 young children I decided to train as a Palliative Care Nurse and worked with The Marie Curie nursing service with the Caterham District Nursing Service until I moved to Devon in 1977. This was a very rewarding post with much personal growth.

Grandma comment; Caring for people at the end of their life I have always felt a sense of humility and to ensure that the person is comfortable and pain free, working alongside their GP and their families in their own home was so special.

Willbreham Nursing Home Teignmouth Devon

In 1977 i moved to Teignmouth where I worked as a staff nurse looking after the elderly residence for approx. 2 years.

Grandma Comment: I had become tired with such hard work, a family to look after and then was diagnosed with Meningitis so had to have a few months off sick. Being rather disillusioned with my working Life I decided to train as a Dispensing Technician working part time in a local Pharmacy and attending Brunel University Bristol 4 days per month.

Grandma Comment: I qualified as a Pharmacy Dispensing Technician in June 1985 but had begun to feel restless with the process of putting pills into pots so having noticed a Staff nurse vacancy within the NHS at a local hospital decided to apply.

Dawlish Hospital Dawlish Devon.

This Lovely Cottage Hospital was run by GPs its speciality was care of the local elderly and had a small minor injury unit open each day. Within the hospital there was a 3 bedded unit which was put aside for people who were terminally ill.  I was employed as part of the small team to look after these special people.

Grandma comment: This hospital was a joy to work in and I was often in charge of the unit and at times the minor injury unit this experience gave me the opportunity to increase my leadership skills and work as a member of the senior nursing team .This year provided a re-introduction to the up-to-date nursing practices.

Torbay Hospital Devon

An opportunity to move into the main hospital outpatients at Torbay arose and I applied as the working hours were 9-5 Monday to Friday. My contract was for 1 year.

I gained experience working with many different Consultants and their medical and surgical teams within the Outpatients Department. I increased my knowledge of different procedures and medical treatments. I became competent in plastering in the fracture clinic.

Grandma comment; This work was very varied and I enjoyed meeting and helping the general public and being part of a team. During this year I became ill with Lymes Disease and although I recovered well I found full time work very tiring. This led me to look at a new working option!

I had been occasionally working in the GUM Outpatient Clinic providing confidential treatments and support. I felt a strong bond with the medical and nursing team also the People who were concerned with HIV/AIDS.

In 1987 I applied and was successful in obtaining a new created post as Health Advisor HIV/AIDS. I worked alongside multi-disciplinary teams planning services, teaching safer sexual practices , Hiv/Aids and the increasing concern about universal precautions .We set up a support group for (Patients now called Clients) and their partners and families within Torbay area.

Grandma Comment. This became one of the most challenging times of my life, the clients were very vulnerable and the general public were difficult/angry with many of misunderstandings being aired.

Many years earlier I had qualified as a Stress Management Therapist and using this approach with HIV positive clients as a therapy, began to show improvements with blood immunity.

A stress management clinic was set up and clients were able to access this support through the hospital. The team also started to research the benefits of other Complementary therapies

Stress Management Clinics

Over the next three years Stress Management Clinics were set up in Torbay support group, Plymouth Freedom Fields Hospital at the ABC, The Psychology Department Exeter RDE Hospital, North Devon District Hospital, and Taunton Support group. In 1992 the Devon Hiv/Aids Association opened its doors at Place Gate Exeter providing alongside the other areas Complimentary Therapies for clients and their close families and partners.

My work directly working for the NHS came to an end at this time as having been the founder of the DAA the Trustees asked if I would lead the client services as a manager , co-ordinate the charity, the staff and provision of services.

Grandmas comment; I remained with the DAA until 1998 when Emily was born so I retired to take up motherhood again!

Return to Nursing Course

This was undertaken in 1999 at Derriford Hospital Plymouth it lasted 6 months.

Grandmas comment: having completed the above course I moved with Grandad and Em to Crewe, using a childminder support I was able to return to nursing and applied to Station House Nursing Home.

Station House Nursing Home



– I worked as a staff nurse and tutor within the Nursing home for approx. 5 years only finishing my post to move to Cyprus.

My nursing qualifications were transferred to Nicocia , however I did not continue to work in the nursing field due to language difficulties.

Grandma comment; On the return from Cyprus to Devon in 2010 I sadly cancelled my name on the role of Nurses.  I am now nearly in my 70s, this report is only a snapshot into my life as a nurse. I feel it has been a great privilege to serve others within my life time.

I am so proud that in each generation of my family one called into this special career.


What inspired you to write this blog?

The Transforming Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery 30 Day Challenge

What is your role?

Third Year CYP Nursing Student -  Leader - Nursing Activist - RCN SIO of the Year 2018


What are your nursing and/or midwifery qualifications?

Third Year CYP Nursing Student


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