Grey’s Hospital nurses enjoy ‘complete flashback’ to 1972

2016-02-08 09:30
Grey’s Hospital trainee nurses of 1972 at their 43rd reunion at Hebron Haven Hotel last weekend.

Grey’s Hospital trainee nurses of 1972 at their 43rd reunion at Hebron Haven Hotel last weekend. (Chelsea Pieterse, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Chattering and laughing, a band of former Grey’s Hospital nurses arrived in KZN from around the world for their 43rd reunion last weekend.

After years of working abroad, the group gathered at the Hebron Haven Hotel in Howick last Friday to rekindle friendships and relive the years spent together at Pietermaritzburg’s Grey’s Hospital.

The group of over 20 young women started out as trainee nurses together at the hospital in 1972 and have remained close ever since.

Old friends and colleagues arrived from Europe, Australia, England, America and parts of South Africa.

Organiser Lynne Nicoll said the weekend’s reunion was a “complete flashback” to the years she and her friends and colleagues had spent as trainee nurses at Grey’s.

“It is as if we have all been transported back to when we were 18 and 19 years old,” she said.

“Everyone remembers different stories and we have had great fun catching up and reliving our trainee days at Grey’s.”

Nicoll said they had also set up Skype at the hotel for those who could not make it to the reunion over the weekend.

“We have Skyped colleagues that are now living and working in New Zealand, Switzerland and Holland,” she said.

Nicoll said after she completed her training at Grey’s she was transferred to Addington where she worked as a clinical sister.

“I qualified as a nurse tutor in 1986 and immigrated to England in 1987 to take up a teaching post. I progressed to the role of senior nurse lecturer and head of department.”

From there, Nicoll said she resigned in 1999 to start her own wellbeing clinic which closed after 10 years due to a commercial development plan that included part of the building in which the clinic operated being bought out.

Another former trainee Grey’s nurse at the reunion, June Saville. said after she qualified at Grey’s she went to Cape Town to do Midwifery at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“We had a fantastic time, especially sharing a digs out in the suburbs. Our house was called Phiga Puza, which means come and drink.

“Following that I headed off on a three- week trip to Europe and on my return I did a year working at the Open Air School in Durban as a hostel sister.”

Julie Sharratt said she had moved to Cape Town to do midwifery at Mowbray after she completed her training.

“I re-located to Johannesburg for a brief stint and then went up to Zimbabwe on holiday. It was in the middle of a bush war.

“I spent four years up there working in rural hospitals and gained the most amazing experience and basically did the work of doctors.

“We were very short staffed and I was taught how to do caesarean sections on my own.”

Sharratt has since lived in Howick for the last 20 years and is still nursing, now working at Sunfield Home for people with learning difficulties.

Sharratt said the years spent at Grey’s gave her and her colleagues world-class training and taught them many invaluable lessons where they all made life-long friends.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  nurse  |  hospital

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