As a Queen’s Nurse serving the communities of Orkney, Mary’s story provides a window into island life. This interview covers Mary’s early years, her midwifery training in Newcastle and her many years working across the islands of Orkney. This account of Queen’s Nursing in the 1960s and 1970s is of particular interest for those with an interest in midwifery, with stories of delivering babies on the various islands, and even in-between!
Mary describes the lengths to which Queen’s Nurses would go for their patients, particularly where there is no alternative, supplying not only health care but social work, essential errands and, on some occasions, veterinary care!
In 2016, journalist Pennie Taylor was commissioned to compile oral histories from our retired Queen’s Nurses. Interviews with nine Queen’s Nurses as part of the project “Voices of Experience” were filmed, and these videos provide an informative and colourful depiction of life as a community nurse across the latter half of the twentieth century. Each interviewee brings a unique perspective, creating a comprehensive look at the importance of Queen’s Nurses to Scotland’s communities. The interviews help to illustrate how training and practice have changed over the years, and are a fascinating piece of our history which we are delighted to be able to share with you.
We were delighted to have Pennie on board, and her journalistic experience and professionalism showed throughout the whole process, creating these nine immersive videos. Pennie said:
“It was a treat to get to know them all, and to share their memories of working lives spent helping others in cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the land. Each has a unique experience and perspective, of course, but what struck me about them collectively was their ingenuity and bravery, coupled with a deep-rooted commitment to delivering the highest quality nursing care possible.”