Pride of Nurses

Nursing is a proud profession. It has evolved from a subordinate position within the hospital to a respected profession. One nursing student, known only as A. A., wrote a poem entitled Saskatchewan Nurse in 1968 which illustrates this strong and proud tradition:

I sing the praise of the nurses of Saskatchewan.

Daughters of the prairie,
Grand-daughters of pioneers from many lands.

Young bodies - sturdy or willowy,
Nurtured on sunshine and northern wheat.

Young voices - a little flat,
Roughened by dust and wind,
Humming gaily over a nasty task,
Laughing, cheery, direct,
Seizing upon essentials
Without equivocation,
Greeting each other, "Hi, you guys!"
In easy sexless camaraderie.

Here a grand-daughter of the steppes,
Finely chiselled Slavic scull
Bearing superb, arched dark eyebrows,
Begging for the artist's brush.

There a Norse princess, wondrous fair,
A young birch in Spring,
Gracing a steep, dark spruce slope
Between foaming waterfalls,
Whispering half remembered myths
Of fabled fjords and fiells beyond the seas.

A soft-spoken Scottish lass, lilt and burr
Saying not long out, awed eyes searching
The vast prairie sky in vain
For the familiar hills of home.

Exotic warm-hued oriental queens,
Gleaming white cap about laquered raven's wing,
Voices hard -- reed pipes punctuated
By the dry staccato of castanets,
Queening it over the orderlies with relish;
Or soft -- a sweet moist night wind in the banaba trees.
Young hands -- strong, swift, sure hands,
Trained, skilled hands, serving, giving.
Young, eager, learning hands,
Fumbling, reaching for perfection,
Making good with instant patted affection
Each clumsy hurt.
Carefree young hands,
Tossing with pretty unconcern
Into Thatcher's Medicare Maw
Some balky bit of gadgetry,
And reaching for another.

White caps -- of many styles,
Proclaiming Moose Jaw, Rosetown or Regina,
Each worn with proper pride.
Saucy white mortar-boards of Saskatoon,
Marking the University's own,
Prim or jaunty on groomed tresses,
Black bands heralding the rank of graduate,
Green the future promise of the novice.

Among them all -- the naturals, the rare ones:
Wives and mothers, many, serving still,
Giving freely of the super-abundance
Of their warm womanhood.
Compassionate, knowing eyes,
Ever seeing like and death,
Hands benign with balm of Gilead,
God's gift to the suffering.

Serving, giving, giving.

Nurse of Saskatchewan, I adore you!

(Courtesy, University of Saskatchewan Archives)