The 50th anniversary celebration for Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) nursing graduates of 1972 is happening later this month.
Glenna Tinney, a graduate of the former nursing school and president of the alumni event that will be held Sept. 29, says the program allowed rookie nurses to get into the field as soon as they had graduated from the classroom.
“We worked in the hospital for a year as a grad,” she recalled. “We didn’t have registered nurse (RN) status, but we had graduate status, which meant we could look after the patients with an RN being responsible for us.”
Tinney, 71, went on to work for 40 years as a nurse at OSMH. She says the program allowed her to get her feet wet with the support of mentors.
“It was good that way,” she said. “It led to a very rewarding career.”
Similar programs are currently offered today at Georgian College, but Tinney says the industry as a whole has changed.
“What has been lost in the shuffle is a lot of TLC to the patient because the patient load is heavy,” she said. “Dealing with someone who is sick in the hospital, talking to them, keeping them informed, and making them feel that you are right there when you need them is all gone because there are too many patients and complications.”
She says a new and larger hospital would help bring back some of the one-on-one care that is seemingly missing.
“Our hospital runs at about 150 per cent capacity,” she said. “They are more than full, and that’s why people end up in the hallways. There isn’t a room for them elsewhere.”
The annual celebration and dinner at Hawk Ridge Golf Club has raised more than $10,000 over the years.
“The money helps ... with nursing functions as far as patients go,” Tinney said. “We want to do whatever we can to make life easier for a nurse to look after a patient.”
Tickets for the dinner cost $35 for graduates and $60 for the general public. They are available until Sept. 20. They can be purchased by emailing Tinney at [email protected].
The classes of 1973 and 1974 were the final years for the nursing school at OSMH. Those classes will be honoured next year.