NHS at 70: Caring through the generations : Nurse Karen Reissmann NHS A Family Tradition

Hella Reissmann started a family tradition when she answered an advert to join the new NHS


Karen Reissmann followed in her mum’s footsteps into the NHS and started as a student psychiatric nurse in January 1982 at Springfield Hospital, an old workhouse and asylum in north Manchester.

“In 1949 an advert went out across Germany asking for people to work as mental health nurses and cleaners in the new NHS, they were desperate for them.
“My German mum Hella replied to the ad.

“I’m told two coach loads of people from Germany arrived in York ready to work because of that call out.

“Mum became a geriatric nurse specialist and fought for the rights of patients in her care.

“The first ward I worked on was a ‘psycho-geriatric’ or older age mental health ward which only had two toilets for 20 patients.

“Given many of the patients could not go to the toilet without assistance, there used to be five commodes placed in a circle in a curtained off bed area and the patients used to go to the toilet watching each other.

“Some people naturally found toilet time uncomfortable; I know I couldn’t go to the toilet with everybody watching me.

“I remember after 13 weeks of this, coming away and realising to myself that I wasn’t shocked by the set up anymore.

“I was horrified that it took only three months for me to become institutionalised.”



Credit: BBC News:   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/heal,th-43656406    




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