Memories of nursing school A short Bob version
It isn't easy, becoming a registered nurse these days. But it wasn't exactly a restful trip aboard a hospital gurney in past years, either. Think St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in Fargo, back in the days when nurses (female-type; male nurs...
It isn't easy, becoming a registered nurse these days. But it wasn't exactly a restful trip aboard a hospital gurney in past years, either.
Think St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in Fargo, back in the days when nurses (female-type; male nurses are a relatively new species) wore white uniforms and what one retired RN calls those "funny little caps."
The students had a rigorous schedule, tough classes and, sad to say, little chance for romance. But out of it came careers in a marvelous profession and, among the students, strong bonds.
Those bonds will be renewed May 17, when a St. Luke's School of Nursing reunion will be held.
The school opened in 1908, and its last class graduated in 1987. During that time, it turned out more than 2,800 graduates.
Those who attend the reunion will have a lot to hash over - and we're not talking hospital food.
Two of the reunion planners are Mavis Halvorson, Moorhead, (class of 1959), and Denise Thompson, Fargo, (class of 1960).
These two retired RNs have countless memories of the school, including:
Their uniforms, with what Denise calls those "funny little caps." The students had to wear dresses or skirts to classes and to the cafeteria, and an instructor measured them to be sure they weren't too high off the floor.
Study hours, from 7 to 9 p.m. Then the women took a break, walked to the Bison Hotel café or the Dutch Maid for a Coke, then rushed back to the dorm to meet the 10 p.m. curfew.
Taking some classes at North Dakota State University, to which most of them walked "because nobody had a car," Mavis says; "maybe if it was cold, we took a bus, but otherwise we walked."
The original building, east of St. Luke's (now MeritCare) Hospitals, which has since been demolished. The students lived upstairs and attended classes in the basement.
The new building, west across Broadway, which opened in 1958.
The rule against dating physician interns or residents while in school, and against getting married until the student's last four months of training.
Male students? Not until the 1970s.
Summer break? Forget it. It was a year-round three-year program.
Taking six months of training in the Cook County Hospital in Chicago during the student's final year because that hospital had a psych ward, out-patient clinical training and a contagious ward (known as the "contage" ward), which sometimes, Denise says, had a patient with a rare case of leprosy.
But Chicago offered the students something besides training: It had pizza, back when pizza wasn't common, and "that apple pie place," Mavis says; "we hung out there because we loved that pie."
On top of all that, it was in Chicago where (ta da!) Denise learned to dance and Mavis learned to play pinochle.
Finally graduation day arrived, and the new RNs moved out into the wonderful world of nursing.
Nursing shortages are nothing new. Years ago, Mavis and Denise say, the graduates often were hired in other states, even though they didn't have licenses from those states, because hospitals and clinics were so desperate for RNs.
Many stayed in Fargo, though. Denise worked in pediatrics at St. John's Hospital and Mavis joined St. Luke's Hospitals, where she made a flat $300 a month regardless of the number of working days in the month.
Those may be some of the memories that will surface at the reunion, to be held at the Americinn Lodge and Suites, Moorhead.
Alumni of the school can obtain more information and register for the reunion by sending e-mails to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ; writing Mavis Halvorson, 1329 19th Ave. S., Moorhead 56560; or phoning Mavis at (218) 236-1287.
For any St. Luke's School of Nursing graduate, it would be fitting to give the event a shot.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487;
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Memories of nursing school A short Bob version Bob Lind 20080120