Nursing as a Career
The nursing profession is an old and honorable one. From time immemorial mankind has been a victim of disease and accident. Those who were ill and suffering have needed care and attention. It is a noble role that women have taken in ministering to the sufferings of their fellow beings.
In present times, under the tutelage of modern science, nursing has developed into a dignified and well-paid profession for women. The nurse trains in a hospital school. She has the advantages of the expert advice and instruction of medical authorities. In caring for those who are ill and nursing them back to health, she is constantly performing inestimable service to humanity. What could be more thrilling to the attendant nurse than knowing that because of her tender care and watchful guidance a child will some day be able to walk again, that some man or woman, thought incurable, is far on the road to recovery?
The trained nurse has chosen an enviable career. She knows the joy of a work that is of vital importance in the scheme of living - the satisfaction of a confidence gained in herself and an independence that comes with the ability to command a well-paid position.
Chester and the Chester Hospital
The Chester Hospital, established in 1883, is an active, general hospital of 265 beds.
In an industrial center the size of the city of Chester there are large numbers of accident cases that must be cared for. In addition to these emergency patients the hospital receives the usual number of general surgical and medical cases found in a city of 70,000 inhabitants. This does not include the many cases which come from the surrounding country. The patients treated at Chester Hospital average over 3000 each year. These include private, full pay and part pay ward patients, and free cases.
The hospital is thoroughly modern. Three large and fully equipped operating rooms furnish adequate means for the treatment of surgical cases. Five
interns under the supervision of a chief resident physician comprise the staff.
The departments of the hospital, including the X-ray, laboratory, ophthalmology, obstetric, social service and dispensary, all co-operate with each other and with the physicians in giving every patient the best possible care.
Chester Hospital is continually increasing in scope and efficiency and extends its aid to all persons, irrespective of class, religion, or nationality.
Chester itself is a city rich in historical tradition and glowing with modern activity. Its growth is interesting and phenomenal.
The original tract of land received its name from William Penn in 1682. The old court
house, still standing on Market Street, is a silent reminder of these old Colonial days.
While no fighting took place in Chester during the Revolution, yet soldiers were stationed here, hospitals treated the wounded, and both Washington and Lafayette stayed for some time in the city.
An opportunity to make many hearts happy!
With the beginning of the nineteenth century, railroads, banks and manufacturing plants were built. The early textile mills soon attracted manufacturers of other products, and when, in 1866 the borough of Chester was incorporated as a city, industry was flourishing.
The present century has been one of increased activity - industrially, civically, socially - until now Chester offers to its citizens a city of attractive homes and rich opportunities. Public parks, city playgrounds, nine beautiful theaters ... flourishing organizations - churches, the Christian associations and fraternal orders ... business clubs and country clubs ... all these attest to the prosperity and happiness of the residents of a city that is continually growing.
The Beginnings of the Training School
The Chester Hospital Training School for Nurses was established in 1893 as a department of the Chester Hospital.
The increasing demand for service to be rendered in the community and the desire on the part of the hospital to maintain the highest standards in the operation of its various departments, give the student nurse opportunity to gain excellent theoretical instruction and valuable practical experience.
Believing a healthy body to be a necessary prerequisite of efficient service, Chester Hospital Training School maintains careful supervision over the health of its students, with the result that its graduates are in excellent physical condition and
successful in their work.
Nurses in training are given thorough instruction in the care of men's women's and children's medical and surgical diseases, accident and dispensary services, and maternity and operating-room
Nurses' Home is New, Attractive
The Nurses' Home - for three pleasant years of study
The Nurses' Home is an attractive, modern, red brick building situated on the grounds of the Chester Hospital and surrounded by beautiful old shade trees. The first
section of this structure was erected by Mrs. John B. Black for the purpose of caring in the most scientific manner for nurses who became ill. An addition to the building, recently erected, enables the home to accommodate sixty students.
Few hospitals can offer their nurses such attractive living-quarters. To every nurse it is "home" - a place where she delights to bring her friends ... where she enjoys many good times with the other student nurses ... where she can have all the privacy she desires in the quietness of her own room.
The reception room is a large, beautifully furnished apartment. Slende3r, white Ionic columns reach to the ceiling. Sunlight streams in through many gracefully draped windows. Large, soft-toned rugs cover the floor. Sofas and comfortable armchairs under delicately shaded floor lamps make evenings of reading and playing the piano very popular among the girls. Many entertainments and parties are given in this room for the students.
Smaller rooms, wicker furnished, have cozy corners for groups of girls to enjoy. Here a girl may go to read, or write, or perhaps play the Victrola. Often a card game occupies a free evening.
The girls enjoy entertaining their visitors in this spacious reception room.
The bedrooms, some single and others accommodating two nurses, are bright, sunny rooms overlooking the hospital grounds. Artistically arranged by the students, with all the little personal accessories that make a room attractive and individual, these rooms distinctly belong to the girls, and they are proud of them.
Everything is arranged with the hope that during the three student years spent in training the girls will have a home which they will be glad to call their own.
Course of Study
The Chester Hospital Training School offers a three-year course. All applicants must be single women, of good moral character, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, and with four years of high school education.
Bright and cheerful, each girls room expresses her own individuality
Students are admitted in September and February. A three months' probation period is served by every girl upon entrance. At the end of this time, if the applicant has proved her ability and has successfully passed the preliminary examinations, she will be accepted as a student nurse. Uniforms are provided upon entrance and throughout the course. Textbooks are supplied at cost at the beginning of each year.
The allowance received by students is $8 per month for the first year, $10 per month during the second year, and $12 monthly during the third year. No allowance is given nurses during the period of probation, but when the student is accepted into the regular course she receives the allowance for the three months in full.
During the three years at the hospital the nurses receive thorough theoretical and practical training under skilled supervisors. The instruction consists of a series of lectures on the principles of nursing and the work in the various hospital departments, and the practical application of these principles in caring for the sick and injured. The curriculum arranged and issued by the State
Board of Examiners for Registration of Nurses is fulfilled by the staff physician and resident instructor.
The superintendent assigns each student to various wards and services for definite periods of time. There is a twelve-hour duty schedule, with two hours off every day and one free afternoon each week. Extra hours are granted on Sundays and holidays.
Turn on the Victrola and let's dance!
Where theories are learned and soon put to practice
At the end of three years, examinations are held and those successfully passing are graduated and granted a diploma of the hospital.
The Other Side of School
All students in the Training School are permitted the use of the Y.W.C.A. for recreational activities. The girls go frequently to the well-equipped gymnasium and the large, white-tiled swimming pool for a few hours of fun on a free afternoon or evening.
A spirited game of basketball ... a few sets of tennis ... jack-knife dives into the pool, and a swift swim through the clear water ... what a pleasant alternative to a busy day in the schoolroom or on duty in one of the wards!
Of course there are other activities. The girls themselves have a great deal of fun in their own home. Celebrations arranged for special occasions are gay times. Birthdays recognized with surprise parties! Christmas celebrated with all the fun and festivities of home ... a Christmas tree, gifts, and a huge turkey dinner! Amateur theatricals are great sport and the large reception room affords ample space for the encouragement of talent in that line.
Not only in the students' home, but in the city of Chester, took, the girls find much to do. Lectures and musicales give them many opportunities to add a cultural side to the scientific education they gain at the hospital.
Chester's proximity to Philadelphia has many advantages for the nurses. While sufficiently distant to enable the student to escape from the noise and crowded conditions that so often surround hospitals in large cities, and to enjoy the beauty of the suburbs, yet the distance does not prohibit occasional trips to the city. The girls have the opportunity to enjoy some of the
excellent plays at the theaters, and many of the concerts of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Trips to the museums, libraries, art galleries and many places of historic interest in and around Philadelphia are often planned for free days and holidays.
The hospital and training school are non-sectarian and the nurses are given opportunity to attend services in the church of their choice.
All of these extra-curricular activities prevent the nurses from becoming narrowed from their specialized study and help them to develop a well-balanced, scientific, cultural and recreational education.
Footprints are registered of every new baby
Time for another rubber before going to bed!
Every girl looks forward to the day of her graduation with mixed feelings of pleasure and sadness. The student nurses at Chester Hospital are always sorry to leave when their three-year training is completed, yet there is a satisfaction in an aim achieved and graduation days are happy ones.
The exercises are held in the auditorium of the Chester High
School. Attractive programs are always arranged and an interesting speaker invited for the occasion. Prizes are awarded for the highest average in theoretical work, for the highest proficiency in X-ray work, and for
department and neatness. The diplomas are presented to the graduates by the chief of the Chester Hospital medical staff.
After the awarding of the diplomas there is usually an enjoyable musical program, followed by a
reception in the Nurses' Home, which is beautifully decorated with palms and flowers. An orchestra entertains in the reception room. A delightful ending to three years of work and play and service.
Rules and Regulations
When a number of people gather together to co-operate in work and living, there obviously must be some regulations set forth to govern their daily routine and to state their privileges. The Chester Hospital nurses follow these simple rules:
The hour for rising is 6. Breakfast is served at 6:30; dinner from 12 to 1; and supper from 5 to 6.
Night nurses arise at 4, and they must be in their rooms and quiet for the day at 10. Night service is required of
every student nurse for a total of 32 weeks during the course.
Fifteen ... and we love them all!
Nurses are treated gratuitously when they are ill. Time lost because of illness must be made up before they receive their diploma.
In case of serious illness or trouble in the family, a student nurse is granted a leave of absence by the superintendent. This absence must be made up by the student before she can graduate.
Visitors are permitted at any time when the nurses are off duty.
Girls are permitted to be out until 10 in the evenings, when this does not interfere with hospital duties. One late pass each month is granted to every girl. This permits her to be out until 12 p.m.
The laundry of the nurses is taken care of by the hospital.
Hospital Nursing School brochure from late 1920's or early 1930's
(courtesy of Vi Burkhard, daughter of
Mrs. Catherine (Miller) Everson, Class of 1933)
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