Gypsy Creams

Like Shopping? Become a Nurse!

Woman's Own / 20th June 1969

This advert startled me somewhat, because I’ve never seen a career sold to anyone on the basis of the holiday included. I can only conclude that holiday offered in other jobs didn’t come to much, as 5 weeks is now around the standard in the UK. Nowadays, nursing is more complex than it used to be, and the recruitment is centred firmly on the rewarding aspects of nursing, rather than having time off in the middle of the week to go, er, shopping.

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John H on 25 September 2009 @ 10am

Benefit of the doubt time:

We’re going back to a time when supermarkets were novel, and butchers, bakers, fruiterers, grocers, weren’t open late. Fine for a family where the wife/mother did all the shopping and cooking. Not so easy for a single, working, independent girl. So perhaps they’re talking about that kind of shopping, not cruising around Harvey Nick’s looking at shoes and handbags.

And hey, it does mention that the job is “really worthwhile”.

Mike Green on 25 September 2009 @ 11am

I wonder when it became conceivable that a nurse might be male?

Tim M on 25 September 2009 @ 12pm

Only a few months ago I heard someone say, “He’s a male nurse,” as if the pronoun hadn’t pretty much already indicated the gender of the nurse in question.

I almost added, “Isn’t that a doctoress with the male nurse?” but managed to restrain myself. :-)

Kristine byrne on 25 September 2009 @ 12pm

No mention of lousy pay , long hours and hard working conditions though and no mention of the huge salaries/time off awarded to Doctors in White Coats.

TheLeen on 25 September 2009 @ 3pm

A girl like you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a boring office!

> no mention of the huge salaries/time off awarded to Doctors in White Coats.

I can only talk about nowadays, and Germany, but as the daughter of two medical doctors I can tell you that often the effective netto pay per hour (after tax, etc.) of a doctor is actually less than that of a nurse.

Tanya Jones on 25 September 2009 @ 7pm

Hi John (and everyone else!),

Yes, I think we can surmise that nursing was a LOT more low-tech in those days, and presumably actual medical responsibility lay more with the doctors. It’s still bizarre to approach recruitment from the angle of how much time you get off, though!

John Hoare on 26 September 2009 @ 2am

Let’s not forget the irony of an advert for nursing also boasting about how to get skin cancer…

Anonymous on 26 September 2009 @ 9am

and this ad is for SENs (who didn’t need O levels) not for Registered nurses (who did)

Tanya Jones on 26 September 2009 @ 11am

Good point, although I hope their modern-day equivalents, Auxilary nurses (I think) are concentrating on their job, rather than thinking about the shopping!

Londis on 26 September 2009 @ 11am

Well the casual association of women with shopping continues to this day. I’m still trying to get my head around this:

“A new campaign is being launched to woo women shoppers to Bath.”

Tanya Jones on 26 September 2009 @ 12pm


sothspell on 28 September 2009 @ 11am

My grandfather became one of the first male nurses in Leicester in the late 1920s and continued in the profession until his death. So I guess that gives you a rough date for the start of male nursing in the UK. He was fairly unusual though – there were very few men working as nurses – and financially it was very difficult because nursing pay assumed that the nurse was an unmarried female living in hospital accommodation for free. Since he was a married man with kids, not having pay that included enough for accommodation meant that money was scarce. It was better than unemployment, but not really set up in a way that would encourage many men to see it as a viable job.

Anonymous on 28 September 2009 @ 1pm

I’m just amazed they didn’t go on to mention all the dishy doctors a girl could meet as an SEN.

Tanya Jones on 28 September 2009 @ 2pm

sothspell, your grandfather sounds like a remarkable man! There can’t be many of his generation that would have done that.

Chris on 30 September 2009 @ 10pm

Doesn’t mention you couldm’t actually afford to go anywhere during that holiday, although they do mention the long hours.

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