Maria Marsden (née Podlasiuk)

Joined 1981

Irlam and Cadishead Nursing Cadet Division, Greater Manchester

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Black and white photograph of five female nursing Cadets in uniform standing in a row. The girl on the end is holding two trophies.
Winning team, Maria Podlasiuk (far left) with Kerry Hobson, Jane Knight and Jane Dickinson (team captain), and team reserve Nicola in front, County Headquarters, Fallowfield, Manchester, October 1982 Image courtesy of Maria Marsden
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Well there were different sorts. There were the First Aid, there were care competitions. We used to get involved in the fire brigade quiz. So we’d go to the fire station after learning the fire prevention subjects, and then it’d be District-wide, and then County-wide, and actually we got to National once. Just about learning what to do in a fire, what colour fire extinguishers were and things, it was a quiz like that. In the actual First Aid competitions it would be you would set up a little scenario, so it could be something that had happened. Sometimes we’d do them outside, sometimes they did them, you know, inside in the kitchen area, just different scenarios, and you’d have to go and find out what was wrong with them. And depending how good the casualty simulation make-up was depended how, if your partner fainted and caused herself an injury.

I do remember once we were in an open competition and it was a big hall, and our casualty was swinging from the beams on a harness, it was a simulation as a climbing accident. So she was in a harness, and we had to work out first of all how to get her down from the harness without causing any injury. So there was all sorts of different First Aid situations and scenarios that I’m sure perhaps you’ve practised in your unit just for practice. But in a competition you usually have a judge there watching to see what you were doing, and if you were communicating with your partner, if you’d got the phone, if you’d realised that they were in shock and things. So one time I remember a judge, it was with Kerry, and we were talking, and she was – because she was in charge – telling me, “Go to the phone.” I said, “No I can’t go to the phone I’ve got to deal with this.” And she was, “No you need to go to the phone.” And in the end we were having a little argument in the middle of the First Aid competition. And a judge commented later on and he said, “I gave you lots of marks for that.” I went, “Lots of marks for what?” He said, “You were really communicating really really well.” When actually no we weren’t, we were having a good old argument in the middle of the competition. But so yeah, that type of thing. The care ones, again you’d be put into a care situation. You might have to go and help an elderly patient from her chair to a bed, or help them get their food or something like that, and it was all in competition situations with a little tick sheet, and the judge would be standing and watching.

Excerpt courtesy of Maria Marsden