Ida Simpson, Ward Sister

St Leonard's Hospital
Interviewed by Toby Butler

Ida Violet Simpson was born in Nunhead, southeast London.

Click here to read more about Ida Simpson and her experiences of training and working in Hackney's hospitals. To listen to the extracts of her interview about St Leonard's Hospital click below.

Image accompanying MP3 audio clip: Ben Johnson Ward ( KB)

Ben Johnson Ward

Ida describes routines on Ben Johnson Ward at St Leonard's. She begins by discussing how the hospital was rearranged after it was bombed during WW2.

Working in the East End

Ida speaks of the friendly relationships the nurses had with local East End residents, emphasising the close links with the Jewish community.

Image accompanying MP3 audio clip: Sling your hook! ( KB)

Sling your hook!

Ida recounts an anecdote where she learnt how to communicate effectively with visitors who did not take kindly to anyone who made the mistake of being hoity-toity.

Respiratory conditions and the London smog

With smog a serious concern in the East End, the nurses had to test all the oxygen cylinders to ensure they were ready for the many patients suffering from chronic respiratory conditions.

Cleaning the ward

Ida gives a guided tour of amenities for sterlisation and cleaning, as well as bathrooms.

Image accompanying MP3 audio clip: Christmas on the ward ( KB)

Christmas on the ward

Ida describes the arrangements for Christmas Eve, which took in carol-singing followed by tea and mince pies, and then Christmas Day dinner... with the surgeons carving the turkey. There was extended visiting on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Diet is as important as drugs

It was the ward sister's responsibility to serve dinner, paying attention to dietary issues and cultural sensibilities, and ensuring that everyone had been able to eat a proper meal. Good rest and nutrition were vital parts of the recuperation process.

Manual lifting, none of those hoists!

Ida talks about procedures to change beds, hard physical work without the benefit of hoists or other aids to help move patients.

This page was added by Lisa Rigg on 17/02/2010.

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