May 1984 Nursing Reunion

July 2019

Class of 1984 reunionOur reunion group taken July 2019 with a held photo of our dear friend who passed away 10 years ago.

After graduating with a BSc Hons in Biology and Environmental Biology at Oxford Poly in 1983, I decided that my calling was to be a nurse. I applied to, the then called, Oxford School of Nursing at the John Radcliffe Hospital for a place on the General Nursing course and started the course in May 1984.

Nursing 1984

There were 16 of us initially in the class, all females and from all parts of the country, including Scotland, Ireland and myself from Wales as well as one student from Denmark. Another student transferred into our group in the second year making us a group of 17. We were a very diverse group but close in age with only 4 years between the youngest and the oldest. It only took the first week of the course for us all to gel together and to become lifelong friends.

The course we undertook was extremely well designed and gave us all the opportunity to experience a lot of nursing specialities in a variety of different hospitals around Oxford. The tutors, Beth Tilt, Anne Humphries, Julia Hall and Jean Vaughan were so supportive and turned a blind eye to a lot of our antics!

 Nursing 1984 group at end of the course

We all got to know each other very well with having shared clinical experiences and spending time in the nursing homes at both Arthur Sanctuary House and in the Radcliffe Infirmary. It was a very special time within our lives.

Most of us stayed within the nursing profession but nearly all of us headed in different directions career wise. Our group now consists of 2 health visitors, 1 midwife, 2 occupational health nurses, 1 district nurse, 1 lecturer in nursing, 1 vaccination nurse, and 1 sexual health nurse, 2 directors of nursing, 3 self-employed business owners, 2 retired and one theatre director (some have more than one role!)

As the years rolled by after qualifying, contact with each other became sparser as life, work and families took over, however I decided last year to try and track everyone down for a reunion. With the help of social media and a lot of detective work we all managed to find each other again. The only sadness being that one member of our group had passed away from terminal cancer about 10 years ago. The rest of us were all delighted to have found each other again and we were all rearing to go to have our reunion. We booked a self-contained house in West Oxfordshire to meet and spend the week together. We all kept in close contact through social media to manage all the arrangements and to make sure that everything was ready for our arrival. Unfortunately 3 members of the group could not attend due to other commitments, but 13 of us were able to get together, including one member who flew from her home in Canada to be with us.

When we all arrived, the years apart melted away and it was just like picking up on a recent conversation. Everyone was recognisable and the same characters were still there, there was absolutely no way that we would run out of conversation or laughter in the whole week together. I have never laughed and had so much fun in years! To be a nurse is a privilege and the friends that you make are lifelong and very special. The next reunion had already been tentatively arranged! We all feel very blessed to be part of such a wonderful group.

Reunion outside Radcliffe Infirmary

Thank you to Annie, Debs, Debbie, Sue, Mary, Clare, Andrea, Teresa, Judy, Carol, Louise and Amber for making this such a memorable week xxx

Karen Vipond (nee Jones)