Enid Patient (née Andrews)

Joined 1948

Walthamstow Nursing Cadet Division, London

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Black and white photograph of a young female Cadet in uniform. She wears a dress and a beret and is standing in a garden.
Nursing Cadet Enid Andrews, photographed in family garden, Walthamstow, c.1948 Image courtesy of Enid Patient
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I did get a lot of experience when I was fourteen. Because when I was fourteen, you were allowed to go to Connaught Hospital during the evening and you had jobs, such as help give the food out. You may not want to put this in, but once I was quite horrified that I was giving the drinks out, and this very elderly lady said, “Can you do something with these?” So I held my hand out and she put her false teeth in my hand, which I’d never seen false teeth before. So at fourteen, you were a bit – yeah, so. I remember that quite vividly. But the longer – because I continued going there for years. So I used to help with dressings and bedsores, when we used to rub soap in and – yes, all that. And then, ulcerated legs, we had some which were horrific. But I used to stand and hold the dressing. Oh, we used to also fill autoclaves with rolled bandages and dressings and put them in the autoclave. And put instruments in there wrapped up, all to be sterilised. And then, I used to empty bed pans in sloops.

Excerpt courtesy of Enid Patient