Today’s book report is about “Hospital Nocturne” by Alice Eleanor Lambert. This oldie but goodie was first published in 1932, and is described by the author as an enchanting behind-the-scenes account of the excitement and drama of the little world within a hospital.
Love and Tragedy in a Hospital…..
“Strange, isn’t it?” Carol Maitland, grave, sweet-faced student nurse, says slowly. “I just love every bit of it. The patients, the babies, the excitement of the surgeries—fighting with interns and having sort of half-flirtations with the doctors—there’s something going on in this place every minute.”
To lovely, gracious Carol, who had been robbed suddenly of her parents, the big hospital has become home, safety, and friends. Sharing gay adventures with her beautiful roommate, Enid Ashland, and the madcap, Sheila Lane; helping genial old Father Time, the institution’s favorite patient, sneak they young nurses in through his open window after-hours; bullying rich young Rodney Herrick into forgetting that he came to the hospital to die; going out on a blind date with Sheila and meeting Jean, a strangely exciting naval officer—all that is part of the fascinating life of the young student nurse.
Then suddenly everything begins to go wrong. Jean goes away and doesn’t come back, and Carol begins to doubt her own code of ethics. Shelia forgets her Heck and falls in love with Dr. Lait, who is too grand ever to marry a nurse. Enid begins drifting toward the rocks and Carol feels powerless to help her. The Canfield case comes in and the whole hospital boils with the futility of the affair. And there is the heart-breaking night when Carol and Rodney hear Enid’s agonized cry and find her wandering half-crazed about the garden.
I don’t remember any of this stuff happening when I went to nursing school. Granted, I went to school many years ago, but my memory isn’t totally gone. I remember staying up long hours with my nose in nursing books, and not going out because I was too busy keeping up with my schoolwork. I remember living in a three story nursing dormitory. It was old and rundown, and there was no air conditioning during the hot summer and little heat during the winter. We had three housemothers, one for each shift that made sure we returned to the dorm safe and sound. They were tough customers that made sure we didn’t sneak men into the dormitory. I remember the girls who lived with me. We were like family. There was one payphone on each floor, and we would ease drop on each other’s phone calls. We didn’t flirt with doctors and we got along with interns. We were all kind of crazy, but I don’t remember any of my friends wandering half-crazed about the garden.
What do you remember about being a nursing student?