Janet Basso

Joined 1985

Malden and Coombe Nursing Cadet Division, London

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Black and white photograph of two young women wearing nursing uniforms consisting of long sleeve dresses and white hats. One of the girls
One Nursing Cadet makes the bed, whilst another holds a cup, possibly won in a bedmaking competition, Harrow, c.1960s Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John (NC.HAR.2022.0093) (Picture credit: Harrow Observer)
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Well, my memory of it was that the first sort of things that I did were very much First Aid and caring-for-the-sick based. I can’t remember exactly what order but I do remember kind of those going, you know, through that. I do remember really early on being taught how to do hospital corners on big hospital beds that we’d – there was a storage unit in the school that was, you know, owned or whatever by the division. And there were like big hospital beds that we all had to like carry out and go and then like learn how to make them up and everything. And then how to turn a patient, you know, make their bed while turning them and that kind of thing. And, you know, I look back at that now and think, gosh, you know, sort of I was like nine years old and learning how to do that. It’s strange. But yeah, I’ve got quite strong memories of learning that kind of thing and of – yeah, and basic life support, so learning the, you know, I’m well aware that the resuscitation guidelines have changed massively and did while I was a Cadet. But yeah, that I remember the, you know, learning that and the – getting the resuscitation dummies out and practising.

I don’t know that it was ever framed in such a way that, you know, one day you may have to care for a relative and help them or in a hospital bed and know how to do this. And I’m sort of quite glad it wasn’t because I think that would have been a bit terrifying at that age. But I think it was – I think part of the reason that I liked it from the outset was it was fairly obvious to me that it was real, it could, you know, this could be a real situation and this was, you know, real things that we were learning.

Excerpt courtesy of Janet Basso