When the Nightingale Sang: A Nurse's Life in the 1950s and 1960s
Cynthia O’Neill started her SRN nursing training in 1956 at Hammersmith Hospital, London: at a time when a nurse was not expected to speak unless spoken to. After qualifying she did midwifery training at Queen Charlottes & Thorpe Coombe Hospitals in London, followed by Queens Nurse and Health Visitor Training. In 1961, Cynthia went to work as a district nurse and midwife in Sussex.
Cynthia’s story gives a fascinating account of the time when items were always brought on a tray or trolley, nothing was disposable and everything needed to be scrubbed and sterilised before re-use, and more time seemed to be spent by a nurse polishing furniture and bedpans than caring for her patients! This story is far more than about nursing though.
It follows one young woman growing up in the era when the Cold War was at its height and Rock and Roll bursts onto the scene. As she struggles to juggle her career and love life in the days before Women's Lib, a young nurse watches the world go through amazing changes. The peace movement gathers momentum, Martin Luther King dreams of a future of racial harmony, and the first man goes into space. Then Doris Day is knocked off the charts by The Beatles…
“This is a burst of nostalgia for all lovers of the 1950’s.”