"This picture was taken at home in May 1979 - the hair was strictly non compliant on the ward!
It was two days after I started my SRN training at the then Merthyr and Cynon School of Nursing in Prince Charles Hospital. I was one of the last students to sit the State Final Examination to become a State Registered Nurse (SRN). In the mid-eighties, it changed to a devolved examination and the title changed to Registered General Nurse (RGN).
There were no trousers for female students; we all wore dresses, and hats were an integral part of the uniform, although as far as infection control went, I have no idea what they achieved!
As a student nurse, you were given a cardboard hat with a yellow stripe to denote your year – one stripe for a first year; two for second year and so on. I hated that hat and couldn’t wait to be rid of it.
I became a staff nurse in 1982. I had looked forward to the day I went into "Blue" (the colour suited me so much better than yellow!), but the uniform changed just as I qualified so I got a white uniform with blue epaulettes!
I did, however, finally get a proper linen hat. Ironically, it lasted less than a fortnight! No amount of Robin starch could persuade it to sit up properly and needless to say it was easier to go back to the cardboard hat.
I was fortunate to be appointed as a staff nurse to the Trauma and Orthopaedic Unit on a rotational basis, which meant I worked in a Short Stay Unit, Orthopaedics and Accident and Emergency - all the areas of care I really enjoyed.
There have been so many changes in the profession over the years but one that resonates with me the most is the length of stay in hospital. In those days, it was common to be in hospital for a minimum of three weeks following a hip replacement, now it is a few days.
The Griffiths Report was commissioned in 1982 as I qualified, and published in 1983, heralding big changes in how the NHS was managed and run. This was the start of a period of change and uncertainty which has continued over the years and we can certainly relate to today.
I have been a nurse for 38 years and although I have been in Nurse Education for many years and witnessed countless changes, I can’t imagine a career that would have been as interesting or as fulfilling."