Yes, Sister: Memoir Of A Young Nurse
Anyone who knows nursing as it is taught today, in educational settings, should read how it used to be done! Yates-Adelman was a nursing student at Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary in the early ’60s, when nursing was taught in the hospital, in alternating classroom and ward settings. She chronicles her three years of incredibly hard work: of her class of 36 nursing students, only 18 stayed the course and graduated. Some of the stories are funny, some are tragic, and the reader is given a crash course in how things used to work in the hospital system, when nurses gave back rubs and had time to spend with frightened and worried patients. Since Holy Cross was a Catholic hospital, run by nuns, and since Yates-Aldeman was Protestant, we learn some hard lessons about birth control and abortion in the years when The Pill was just becoming an option – for some.
Yates-Aldeman has an interesting story to tell, and she tells it in a polished way that draws us right into the world of the student nurses, and their minor revolts against the nuns’ rules and regulations. The general reader can stop reading right after the graduation ceremony: there are a few pages describing the class reunions, and these are, perhaps, more interesting to the participants. They don’t serve a great purpose, and in a small way they take away from the sense that the reader has had of being totally enclosed in the small world of a teaching hospital for three fascinating years. mRb