Think of nurses of days gone by and its more than likely you’ll conjure up the image of a frisky Hattie Jacques caught up in a Carry On scene with a shocked Kenneth Williams delivering his classic “ooooh matron!” line.
The actual fact of the matter is that the actor never actually uttered those words during any of the slapstick 70s comedies – the closest he actually came was “please, matron” in Carry On Doctor.
But the image remains and its one that’s forever linked with the caring profession – and one that the likes of TV shows such as Holby City and Casualty have done little to water down in the ensuing years.
Of course, the actual picture is far, far different – and in terms of the way nursing has developed over the years, it is possibly the one career that’s changed immeasurably but at the same time stayed the same.
For the basic premise of looking after hospital patients remains, despite the massive advancements made in medicine and technology in the way that people are cared for.
Sheffield of course, has long been at the forefront of medicine, nursing and care, being home to several major medical schools and of course hospitals where thousands of us have been treated over the years – from minor injuries to life-threatening illnesses, there is unlikely to be anyone reading this who hasn’t had an encounter with a smiling, attentive nurse at some stage in their life.
The University of Sheffield’s School of Nursing And Midwifery is of course based in the city and over the years has given both the National Health Service and the private healthcare industry scores of individuals dedicated to putting others’ needs first.
We’ve delved into the Star archives as our weekly look at professions reaches the letter N to find some of these wonderfully nostaglic photos of some of the city’s ‘angels’ of years gone by.
Most noticeable from the black and white pictures taken by our photographers through the 70s and 80s shows how the nursing uniform has changed – the perfectly balanced hats aren’t quite as commonplace as they once were, but those curious upside down watches pinned to the lapel still remain!
One thing is for sure, however fleeting their appearances in our lives and while their names may escape us or go unnoticed, while we are under their care, a lot of us will have an eternal debt to pay to those women (and men) in their blue uniforms who’ve helped in our times of need.