The Royal College of Nursing
Sitemap | Contact Us | A-Z | Search: 
RCN Online |

   Opening hours
   Contact us
   Principal collections
   Policies & pricing
   Facts & figures
   Historical nursing
            journal database

UK Centre for the History  
of Nursing & Midwifery »

Download Adobe Acrobat
Browse RCN Archive

Lisbeth Hockey talking to Anne Marie Rafferty

Parents:C  /   300  /   8  /  
Repository:Royal College of Nursing Archives
Title:Lisbeth Hockey talking to Anne Marie Rafferty
Date:27 Dec 1987
Extent:1 C90 cassette
Scope:Oral history interview with Lisbeth Hockey on 27th December 1987 at Lisbeth Hockey's home in Edinburgh. Interviewer: Anne Marie Rafferty. Summary of subjects covered in the interview:SIDE AEarly life in Graz, Austria: father was a government architect. Mother was a housewife. LH had an older sister. Schooling: Anecdote about how parents tried to get school to take her age 5 years and 11 months (LH could already read) but school would not as she was not tall enough. Had private tutor until school accepted her. Enjoyed school. Parents were very loving but she felt overprotected. Went to Elementary school aged 6-10 and a different school 10-18. Explains continental system of education. Sat university entrance examination. Was expected that you went to university. Particularly enjoyed logic and philosophy at school. Always wanted to go into medicine and be a GP. Never wanted to be a specialist - wanted to look after the 'whole person'. Her parents had a very high moral consciousness but were not religious in any way.Studied medicine at the University of Graz, starting in 1936. First impressions very upsetting due to Austrian 3-class hospital system - paupers examined in public for benefit of students. Memories of a specific terrible incident - had big effect on LH and she nearly gave up her studies. Did just three years of medical training. At that time the political situation in Austria became intolerable and dangerous. Sent away to England by her parents and never saw them again - they were later killed by the Nazis. LH had been unaware of her Jewish ancestry - the Nazis uncovered it. Describes arrival in England - the Quakers helped her.LH lived with members of the Wedgewood family - a Brigadeer and his wife. Became Governess to their children. Could not continue with medicine in England as she was a woman, not a British subject and had no money, so the Wedgewood's suggested nursing. Had to choose between the London Hospital and a psychiatric hospital in Aberystwyth. However her mother did not want her to train at a psychiatric hospital. The London Hospital accepted LH on the proviso that she learn English in three months, which she did. LH did her preliminary training at Tredegar House, Mile End. Disappointed by level of teaching of the medical lectures. But enjoyed patient contact and was determined to make a go of it. During WW2 evacuated to hospital in Rochford, Essex. A new rule from the British Government stated that non-British subjects could not nurse prisoners of war and so LH had to leave the London Hospital in the middle of her training. Went to look after a little girl for a while and then did Fever Nurse training at Muswell Hill which she was allowed to do as it was dangerous. Memories and anecdotes of fever nursing during the Blitz. Later finished her General Training at a hospital in Watford. Did not question during training - had to obey. Anecdote about questioning Sister about bedsores and getting a negative response - a key moment in LH's future career in nursing research. Hoped to be the kind of person who encouraged others to ask questions. Particularly impressed by Night Sisters - describes reasons why. LH did not really like hospital nursing - wanted to work in the community where she could spend as much time as she liked with patients.Started Midwifery Part 1 at the North Middlesex Hospital, Edmonton. Horrific experience as they lost 11 healthy babies in 3 weeks due to gastro-enteritis. For part 2, deliberately chose a hospital in Essex where she could do her 6 months on the district, and loved it. Felt she was not a good midwife but enjoyed working in the community, so decided to do district nursing.SIDE BDid not enjoy pre-NHS days when had to ask patients for money for visits. Often put her own money in for patients who could not afford it. Celebrated when NHS came in and no longer had to charge. District nursing was her life. One of her closest friendships was with a girl whose mother she used to nurse. District nursing taught her that a nurse had to have far more interest in her patients, not just the physical symptoms. Felt that she did not know a lot about how to prevent illness and so did her Health Visitor's course. LH was a 'triple duty' - a 'district nurse, midwife, health visitor' in a rural area in Essex for a bit - the 'best part of her whole career' apart from the nursing research. Despite now being a British subject she knew that it was not feasible to go back to studying medicine and so decided to put all she had into nursing. Did feel a little envious of doctors though.Appointed to Queen's Institute c1962-3 in order to co-ordinate District Nurse training in London. LH wanted to know whether the syllabus they had always used was still appropriate - so did a national survey of District Nurse training - describes how she did the survey and outcomes. LH was a novice in nursing research and so decided to do a statistics course at London School of Economics. Later did the BScEcon degree course in Economics at LSE as an evening student. Felt nurses needed to learn the language of economists so they could argue effectively when asking for resources for health care.Survey whetted LH's appetite for more research. Margaret Scott-Wright encouraged LH to apply for position of Director of the newly envisaged Nursing Research Unit at the University of Edinburgh. Got the job. Nobody knew too much about nursing research so LH did not get much support. Found the research discussion group in London supportive. Other departments at the University of Edinburgh were sceptical. Culmination of career in terms of personal satisfaction was when she was made an Honorary Fellow of the College of GPs. Describes team she led at the Nursing Research Unit. Did the 'Women in Nursing' study. LH's key idea was that one basic study could lead to a new set of questions and a coherent framework of research which pursued those questions raised. PhDs often finished by saying that more research was needed yet no-one ever did that further research. LH wanted to let the research results direct the next stage. However, the Chief Scientist's Organisation set up - wanted all research units to have a theme. Was not easy deciding on a theme for the Nursing Research Unit - the team eventually chose 'communications'. Shortly after that LH retired. Deliberately did not finish everything - describes reason why. Describes setting up Summer schools teaching Nursing Research. Would like to see posts that allow time for research. Her big regret is that research has not been internalised. Discussion of how she would like to see replication of research to provide research that has a general validity, but people always want to do unique research as it has more prestige. Discussion about how research is not seen as being an intrinsic part of nursing, partly because nurses cannot see the value or relevance of it. Lisbeth was awarded an Honorary Law Degree, University of Alberta - anecdote about the degree ceremony. Also received a doctorate in Medicine from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. She wanted to study medicine and now has an Honorary Doctorate and wanted to be a doctor and is now a Fellow of the College of GPs - so feels she has achieved her objectives on an honorary basis![No transcript available - contents summary only.][Oral history interviews and other recordings are stored as part of the Royal College of Nursing's Oral History (T) series. Please note the alternative reference code T/26].
Access Status:
Access Condition:
Related Material:
Sitemap | Contact Us | A-Z | Legal | Privacy