My older sister was already a nurse in Yorkshire and got the application forms for me and a friend; two of us went over together in 1957. Because we had done our schools certifications – Leaving Certs – we were allowed to start, because that was on the same lines as the O-Levels here. Some nurses that went over that didn’t have their certificates had to sit an exam before they would be taken on as nurses.
I remember going onto a ward once and a Sister saying to me, ‘Can you make a pot of char and put it in my office?’ In those days, you didn’t question what the Sister was saying, so I came out and I had to ask somebody else what it was she wanted. All she wanted was a cup of tea but I hadn’t a clue what a pot of char was.
We had some good times in the Nurses Home. They were strict on us going out. We were only allowed a late pass once a month but we had a way of keeping the fire escape open or something to get in at a later date.