HOW many nurses does it take to change a light bulb, runs a joke popular among trainees.
None. They just get a student nurse to do it.
Doreen Tandy isn’t quite sure the gag is accurate. But after being a nurse in Sheffield for almost 60 years she still fondly remembers her days as a trainee in the Fifties as among the most hard-working – but fun – of her life.
And these pictures, which the Crosspool great grandmother recently rediscovered among her treasures, are proof perhaps that those days were both enjoyable and tough.
She shares the images – taken while Doreen was training at St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford, St James’s University Hospital in Leeds and Nether Edge Hospital in Osborne Road – with Midweek Retro today to offer a glimpse into life as a student in another era.
“They were taken between 1953 and 1957 but it only seems like yesterday,” says the 79-year-old. “I’d always wanted to be a nurse so I was living my dream, really.
“I still remember the tutor Miss Marsden and the matron, Miss Coupland even now. They were so knowledgeable and taught us ever such a lot. They pushed you hard but it was for your own benefit.
“After I finished my training I became a nurse in Sheffield and carried on until 1999 when I retired. I loved every moment.”
Doreen was born in the village of Gomersal, West Yorkshire, in 1935, and, after leaving school and briefly working as a telephonist, embarked on the career that would last more than five decades.
She trained firstly at St Luke’s between 1953 and 1956 – where she was in the same class as Margaret Hockney, sister of David – and then continued her education at St James’s and Nether Edge Hospital, qualifying as a trained midwife in 1957.
Shortly after that, a job came up for a district nurse in Sheffield and she moved to the city, where she has stayed for the rest of her life, living firstly in Nether Edge and latterly in Crosspool. “As a district nurse, it was my job to visit patients in their homes,” she says today. “I’m the kind of person who always wants to help people so doing that was perfect for me.
“Of course I saw a lot of unpleasant things – you can’t be a nurse 50 years without seeing death, unfortunately – but it is worth it for those moments when you can really help someone.
“Things naturally changed down the years but I would say nurses today are just as good as they have always been.”
After suffering a neck injury in 1978, she became a theatre nurse at the now closed Jessop Hospital and remained there until retirement in 1999.
“Nursing was a wonderful way to make a living,” she says.
“I felt very blessed.”
Doreen Tandy was a nurse in Sheffield for 52 years. Since she arrived in 1957, several historic hospitals have shut down including:
Jessop Hospital, Broad Lane, city centre: notable as the place where thousands of Sheffielders were born, this maternity hospital served city women for more than 100 years after opening in 1878.
It took its name from steel magnate Thomas Jessop who funded the £26,000 development – initially built as a 35-bed unit to replace the tiny Sheffield Hospital for Women in Figtree Lane. By the time it closed in 2001, however, it had expanded to a sprawling 217 bed complex with new wings added in 1902 and during the Seventies.
Only the original Victorian hospital – now part of Sheffield University – remains standing today.
The Royal Hospital, Westfield Terrace, city centre: Erected in 1832 as a simple dispensary, this became a 61-bed hospital in 1857, and, with several expansions, served ill Sheffielders until 1978.
Wards included A&E, dentistry, and surgery theatres as well as a special children’s unit. Nurses often lived onsite at a special apartment complex.
It closed in 1978 and was demolished shortly after as services were gradually transferred to the purpose built Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Middlewood Hospital, Middlewood Road, Wadsley: By the time this psychiatric hospital shut in the mid-Nineties, it had gained a reputation for excellent mental health care. But this vast 2,000 bed institution had a somewhat ambiguous history. It was opened as South Yorkshire Asylum in 1872 when, in less enlightened times, patients were often categorised as lunatics, and treatments included including isolation units, heavy physical restraints, and some so-called correctional punishments.
It closed between 1996-98, and large swathes have since been developed into plush apartments.