Louise Gleason

Nurse at Worcester State Hospital, Department of Mental Health, and UMASS Medical

And so I applied to nursing school because I figured teaching was four years. [I tried secretarial and I hated it.]  And nursing was a full three years. We didn’t have any summers off. You went to school and you worked continuously. And there were days you would work all day and then you’d have to go school or you would work all night [11-7] and then you’d have a full class load during the day. So that was it was--a very tight schedule for three years. And you stayed there.  You had a chance to go home, but not frequently. It was an unbelievable experience.  Our probationary period ended after six months. Many of the kids in my class [our ages were 16, 17, 18 years old], were put in charge of whole floors [called units now] at night, 11-7. That would never happen now, you know. Can you see like a little 18-year-old having responsibility for very sick people? That’s what was expected of you.

Interview Date: 
November 13, 2006
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