Hospital diploma nursing schools mandated that all students reside in the dorm which was conveniently located within the hospital complex. Individuality was nipped in the bud with all student nurses sharing the misery while at the same time maintaining a pseudo happy face. A monastic-like existence was thought to enhance the nursing
educational training experience. Older nurses viewed nursing as a cult and eschewed an outside life for the good of nursing.
These dorms were not fun places and novice nurses slept, woke, ate, slaved for 8 hours on the wards, ate again and studied under the watchful eyes of house mothers before sleeping again. As the bewitching hour of 9 PM rolled around it was time for some fun. House mothers, affectionately known as house hags, completed their last rounds before mandatory lights out at 10PM. The end result was one hour of time for which there was no accounting. Between 9 and 10PM was the bewitching hour.
Student nurses had to make their own fun in this stark environment that was devoid of televisions or any form of recreation that cost real money. Of course the sewing room was open, but who felt like mending aprons or fussing with uniforms after working or studying all day. Novice nurses were pretty much left to their own devices when it came to recreational pursuits.
Water fights were popular diversions with an enema can rigged above transoms to dump a deluge on anyone answering a knock on the door. The downside to water sports was the clean up and the screaming frequently attracted uninvited attention from nosy house mothers.
|Water fights were fun, but messy|