In That Goodnight: More Memoirs of a Nurse Teacher, Shirley Phillips, nurse, ward sister, teacher and carer almost into her 70th year, recounts episodes from her career. The milestone of Project 2000 where nurses training now included the degree qualification at the expense of practical experience in the ward saw a deterioration in care quality. As we approach our final years the decision of where to receive the best care can be clouded by media reporting of the repeated scandals found in care homes and hospitals alike. With experience of both, Shirley Phillips is well positioned to expose the shortcomings and the successes to be found in care provision. When the systems go wrong the results can be harrowing. For those interested in this area of the health service, or who are simply curious about their own future, That Goodnight: More Memoirs of a Nurse Teacher is an excellent read.
Shirley Phillips, RGN. Dip in N (London) Cert.Ed. (FE) RCNT, RNT, (Retired) Times to Weep, Times to Laugh is a memoir of her life as a nurse. Her training began in 1970. She eventually became a nurse tutor in 1981 and retired from the NHS in 1993. Thereafter, she continued to train nurses in the private sector and ultimately retired from there in 2002.
Some events within these memoirs are related to her past as the fourth of five children born into the hard life of a miner's family in a South Wales valley. Large families lived in small, back-to-back houses and strived to provide the essentials for existence. At the age of seventeen she applied to enter nurse training but was rejected as being unfit for the heavy tasks involved. She has a spinal curvature. The content of her writing will reveal that she overcame this and was accepted into nurse training seventeen years later.
Shirley Phillips met and travelled widely with her husband who was then an army officer. She worked as a voluntary nurse in a number of overseas countries and was involved in some of the violent results of insurgency. She carried out voluntary nursing in Ghana, Aden, Kenya and she occasionally lectured in the RIPAS Hospital in Brunei. With her husband, for five months in 1984, she helped him when he was with UNESCO on a project in Paris and Nigeria to aid disabled children.
She was in the caring profession for thirty years and, at times was deeply involved in events that reminded her of some of the horrors of her past: illicit abortion, sexual abuse, rape, murder, family conflicts, racism, and the victimization of miners. Whilst a nurse she was reminded of those nightmarish events of her past.
She has emphasised differences between the care of the sick and injured in her childhood and youth and how it is now. However, she points out, to her the change in direction of general nurse training was not necessarily for the better.
The Nursing Times (May 2002) has commented: "Project 2000 was not the success the Government had hoped for." For the past ten years Shirley Phillips has noticed nursing care spiralling downwards. She hopes it hasn't reached a point of no return for the sake of our future and of those compassionate, dedicated nurses who still exist. She is pleased to say there are more of those than the others.
Times To Weep, Times To Laugh
Keeping My Promise
Memoirs of a Dog Walker
After Our Heart Attacks
The English Woman And C. G. Jung
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