Saturday 23 September 2017

Irish nurses celebrate reunion 50 years after they began their training

Pat Leavy tracked down the nurses who began their training 50 years ago for a get-together at Wynn's Hotel
Pat Leavy tracked down the nurses who began their training 50 years ago for a get-together at Wynn's Hotel
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

It’s a profession which often sees those newly qualified leave our shores.

But when Pat Leavy’s husband told her she wouldn’t be able to track down the members of her nursing course from 50 years ago, she took up the challenge.

Yesterday, 14 former nurses, all of whom began their studies in 1967 at the since-closed Charitable Infirmary, on Jervis Street, gathered at Wynn’s Hotel.

They shared their memories of training and spoke about their lives dedicated to helping others.

Pat Leavy tracked down the nurses who began their training 50 years ago for a get-together at Wynn's Hotel
Pat Leavy tracked down the nurses who began their training 50 years ago for a get-together at Wynn's Hotel

Ms Leavy (67) explained how there were 21 trainees when the course began, five decades ago.

Sadly, she said, four of their number had died.

“From 21, four died, and that left us with 17,” she said.

Her mind was set on tracking them down after she floated the idea with her husband.

“I was just sitting in the house around a year ago and I was speaking to my husband,” she said.

“I said that I’d like to get in touch with the nurses.

“It was 50 years since we started and he said I didn’t have a hope.

“So that’s why I did it really, just to prove him wrong.”

Some of her former colleagues had started new lives abroad in places such as Dubai, Australia and the US, and some she couldn’t get in touch with.

But those she did manage to contact were more than happy to arrive on the big day.

“It was with great difficulty I located them,” she added.

“Some were nuns who went back to their convents. I rang the Sisters of Mercy in Kerry and the Little Sisters of the Assumption in Dublin.”

She also inquired at the Holles Street Hospital in Dublin and was initially told it couldn’t give out the details of one of its former nurses.

“I told them I wasn’t going to murder her or anything and eventually they rang her and passed on the message,” Ms Leavy said.

It was the first time the group had got together in 47 years and all had a wonderful day, which included cake, a drink and a quiz, the objective of which was to name all the sisters at Jervis Street at the time.

Ms Leavy said some things were better in her day, adding: “We knew the name of every patient.”

Herald

Editors Choice

Also in Life