When 18-year-old Mary Hazard touched down in postwar Putney to begin her nurse's training, she could never have known it was the beginning of a colourful career that would still be going 60 years later - one of the longest-ever serving NHS nurses.
For Mary, raised in a strict convent in rural south Ireland, working in her first London hospital was a shocking and life-changing experience. Against a backdrop of ongoing rationing and poverty, she saw for the first time the horrors of disease, the heartbreaking outcomes of failed abortions - and faced the genuine shock of seeing a man naked for the first time!
Sixty Years a Nurse follows the dramas and emotions as Mary found her feet during those early years. From the firm friends she made under the ever-watchful gaze of the matron and the sisters to the eclectic mix of Londoners she strove to care for; the Teddy Boys she danced with and the freedom of living away from home; and her own burgeoning love story, as extraordinary as it was romantic - these are the funny and heartwarming moments that helped Mary to follow her dream.
What a wonderful book written by an astonishing lady. At times eye watering funny to poignant and sad this book runs through all the emotions but as a life story it leaves you knowing that there really is wonderful, caring people in the world. This is not my regular reading fare but I also trained as a nurse so it caught my eye one day. As a nurse trained in the NHS I my own experiences followed many that Mary describes, especially the people that work in Hospitals, from Porters to Surgeons, catering staff to Sisters they really do exist as Mary describes. Hospitals are worlds in their own right , populated by their own very special people. Mary is not only one of those special people, but also a talented author who keeps you fascinated by her beautifully written autobiography. I started listening to this one evening, and finished at 4am, I didn't want to turn off the iPod. There are some books that stay with you forever, "sixty years a nurse" is one of those books.