This speech was read by Colleen Follett from the Class of February 1961 at their 50th Class Reunion during the annual VGH School of Nursing Alumane Luncheon on May 1, 2011. We are sure you will relate to her words!
What a process I remember it clear
Applications, papers, questions, and fears.
VGH held standards high
And so we were accepted with pride,
Though some were denied.
Then six months of class and a banquet of facts
We had to learn fast
Some could stay, some must go.
Then they said “now use what you know”.
Weeks into months into years and slowly we changed,
Our wards, our hats, our clothes, our shoes
And deep inside, we all changed too.
Thrown to the front line of life’s reality show
Privy to all its joys and woes
Our innocence we all outgrew
And a new knowing we pursued.
We walked on in white
We said good bye
Through tears and sighs
Keen to pursue our unique identity
Writing our own reality.
Fifty years ago to now
So much wisdom,
Knowing the good times and the strife.
We here are the perfect picture
Of what is a life.
How our world has changed,
New Nurses would think it strange,
The world we worked in then.
We carefully printed out cards for meds
We poured into cups on trays.
Sometimes pouring meds took over half a day.
Now no need to pour
A little bar coding machine
Spits out the meds
Knowing who and when and what for.
Remember the Bottles for IV’s, irrigations, and drains,
Glass syringes, needles and tubes used again and again.
Now a little machine times our IVs
We count drops no more.
Automatic vital signs a breeze,
IV and IM and SC are all done with ease
And there’s a plastic disposable world for our needs.
Our patient was with us for days or for weeks
We bathed them and fed them and made Bessie’s beds.
Now they‘re sent home in a day
Unless their near dead.
We sat in the office with a smoke and a coffee
And wrote all our info on chart after chart
Now the computer just opens its heart
And we point and we click that’s our part.
Now Smoking’s a crime though coffee’s still fine
We just have to be a techno Einstein.
The orderly was there to cath. and to carry
But he went extinct and left us all harried.
There’s lots of new meds with lots of new names
New meds Flossie could share with her flair.
She’d have solutions and dosages in spades to claim.
There’s lots of disease that new meds can repair.
MRSA, Aids, SARS, Legionnaire and West Nile
Potent Malarias and others quite Vile.
We crumble and clog if not given the meds
As Osteoporosis, and Cholesterol now something to dread.
We have new STDs and Viagra to please.
Everyday new maladies.
We also have Stents and defibs and pacemakers
To defy that ride to the undertaker.
There are mammograms, CT, MRI and PET scans
Fibre optics and scopes and little cameras to pan.
We have angio’s and bypasses, — new parts everywhere
From joints to organs there’s always a spare.
We don’t have death now unless the patient agrees
Then signs legal papers to set his soul free.
THE MOST AMAZING BUT
Is they have defined
A double helix that twists like a spine.
Wow –who knew?
That the DNA existed and the Genome too.
Now that presents possibilities,
Will a cell placed in us grow a part?
What is the state of this art?
Will a new part grow in a Petri dish?
Then there are all the fine designs
To satisfy the baby wish.
In-vitro they insert, in test tubes they will grow.
We freeze sperm and ovaries and embryos,
Why we can be cloned,
Now that‘s an idea –do it again
Correct the mistakes– a way to atone.
BUT I WONDER
What future will we see?
We seem on the edge of remarkable ingenuity.
Will they unlock the riddle of age?
Will they make old bodies new?
Will we remain on life’s stage?
Then I’ll see you in 2061 and I’m happy to say
You’ll all be as youthful and beautiful as you are today.
After all in the last 50 years we‘ve come a long way.
Here’s to our 53 years of knowing each other.
And here’s to 50 more
YOU NEVER KNOW