Showing posts from April, 2012

Episode 4: Frilly Frolics

First year student nurses at Kings in 1984 all had white belts but were divided into 'paper caps' and 'frillies'. The very newest students wore paper caps (see photo above!) but if, after 6 months, they passed an exam they were issued with a linen frilly (similar to a maid's mob cap) and could lord it over their juniors, having moved one very small rung up the ladder of NHS hierarchy.  In posession of a frilly one could proceed to placements on paediatric and geriatric wards and so I found myself working on a children's ward at Kings over Christmas 1984.  It was a high-risk ward specialising in babies having surgery for liver disease, a scary place for a junior student nurse.  One-to-one mentorship and supernumerary status for students were as yet unheard of.  By the end of our first week  we were caring for patients alone with only cursory supervision - and then often from senior students rather than qualified staff!  I particularly hated working in the milk k…