MOXLEY ISOLATION HOSPITAL
After I left school I started work at Joseph Sankey's but one of my older sisters became a nurse at the Moxley Isolation Hospital. She told me all about it and she seemed to enjoy working there so much that I decided I would like to work there. In 1949 I applied for a job as an Auxiliary but when I went to for the interview the Matron told me that I did not want to be an Auxiliary, but that I should train to be a nurse! So I did. We worked on the wards until 10 am and then we went to the school room in the hospital. There were only about five of us on the course, which lasted three years.
I passed all my exams first time and I qualified as a State Registered Nurse, specialising in fever nursing.
At the time I lived in Daisy Bank, Coseley, and walked into work and out again every day. There was no nurses home on the hospital site at that time but many nurses lived at Coseley Hall and an ambulance would be sent out to collect them each morning. If I was in luck I would get a lift in the ambulance as it came by me.
When I joined the hospital had four isolation wards and one ward for geriatrics. In the isolation wards we had people suffering from just about every known infectious disease, such as measles, polio, typhoid, whooping cough and tuberculosis. I always worked on the children's ward.
Because it was an isolation hospital their parents were not allowed to visit them but they bought carrier bags of goodies for their children to the gate when one of the male members of staff would meet them, take the bags and bring them onto the ward. The hospital was set in its own grounds with woods around and the canal alongside. Sometimes parents would try to get into the grounds through these grounds so that they could wave at their children. But as soon as they were spotted they were put off.
In 1952 I got married, so I gave up working at the hospital. When we were working in the hospital we were inoculated against everything possible but that did not stop me getting diphtheria only two weeks after I got married! When my two girls were about 10 or 12 I started working there again, for two nights a week. And then in the 1970s I went back full time.
The work was hard and sometimes very saddening. Sometimes I was reduced to tears when we lost a patient. We worked 5 days a week for about three months and then five nights a week for the same length of time. We not only did the usual nursing duties but we also had to do some of the cleaning, we did the 'wet dusting' of all the beds and cabinets and we also had to sluice the bed linen before it went down to the laundry. But I loved it there. It was just like one big, happy family.
The Matron was Miss Kurtin and her Assistant Matron was Miss Curtin. They had both come at the same time from the Brook Hospital in London, and they also brought with them Nurse Liz O'Boyle. Just after the New Year there was always the Matron's Ball.
Highly infectious diseases became fewer and fewer and gradually the wards at Moxley were all given over to geriatric care. The children's ward was moved to Sandwell but I was never happy there and I finally left the nursing profession in 1978.