Marie’s Memories of Midwifery

It was a holiday job at the age of 15 which was the precursor for Marie Goldie’s long career in nursing and midwifery. Aged just 15, she began helping out at Stirling Royal Infirmary, working in the shadow of a staff nurse for guidance. This was followed by a pre-training nurse course at Dean College in Edinburgh and then acceptance at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow for general training.

Stints at Yorkhill Hospital for sick children and the infectious diseases hospital at Ruchill were part of this and weekdays at the School of Nursing meant working in wards at weekends.

“The atmosphere at Ruchill was lovely” recalls Marie. “When people came in with things like fevers, it was so rewarding to see them get better and go home.”

Marie’s midwifery training took place at Stirling Royal Infirmary. Over the year she was assigned to district nurses for home births and had to deal with normal births, breach births, twins, pre-eclampsia and the gamut of conditions associated with pregnancy.

Her next move was to Redlands Hospital for women in Glasgow and in 1965 she married, then went back to Redlands where, as a staff midwife, she was asked to do ‘the milk kitchen.’

“I made up all the feeds for 24 hours, full strength, half strength, boiled water. All had to be put into bottles, complete with teats and covers, and a packet was then placed over the bottle secured with a rubber band. Every morning the lab man came and took a specimen to test for infection control. I must have made up hundreds of bottles every day, which were stored in big American fridges.”

Night duty at Glasgow Western Infirmary followed where, following closure of the Beatson unit, some services were moved there including a high pressure chamber rather like an iron lung for treating polio patients.

“These were big enough to take a bed. I still see this young man with two young children. He used to cry every night, it was dreadful.”

When her husband got a job in Falkirk Marie’s next move was to Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary where she undertook night duty in the surgical intensive care unit. “I loved it. It was so busy. We had four beds of really ill patients, all on drips and nasal suction after surgery so it was half hourly blood pressures, half hourly temperatures and pulses.”

In 1973 she became a district nurse midwife, doing ‘anything and everything’ including accidents in the street. It was a role which lasted 25 years until her retirement.

“Everybody knew me, and even now people see me in the street and say hello. I was in a supermarket the other day and this girl said ‘Oh, Nurse Goldie, I haven’t seen you for years.’ It was a great time and I really got to know local people, their parents and their grandparents.”