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Joan Woodcock was born and brought up in Blackburn, Lancashire, to hard-pressed working class parents. Hospitalisation at the young age of four inspired her to become a nurse, and at 16 she started as a cadet nurse, before beginning formal nurse training two years later under the traditional matron system. Despite the strict discipline and harsh training regime, Joan qualified as a State Registered Nurse in 1971. Her career spanned 41 years, and included positions in hospital casualty departments, GP practices, the prison service, Marie Curie cancer care homes and in the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Centre for Lancashire Police - as well as a brief moment of fame on national TV. Joan took early retirement in 2008 to spend more time with her family and her beloved pet spaniel Gino.
Sue Baker's view... My first impression on reading Joan Woodcock’s excellent memoir was how much has changed in just over 50 years. Matron still ruled (just) and nurses, like the author, could begin their training at a very young age. If it wasn’t for her references to events of the times (the moon landing, the Beatles) it would be easy to believe we were back in the early days of the C20th. How things have changed. With a no-nonsense attitude that’s very engaging, Joan Woodcock has a lifetime of nursing stories to tell, tragedy and laughter on tap in equal measure, pain and suffering balanced by dedication and superhuman care. Like for Like ReadingTales from a Midwife: True Stories of the East End in the 1950’s, Jennifer WorthYes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950’s Yorkshire, Jennifer Craig