FROM nightly curfews and starched collars, to university training and cutting-edge technology, there isn’t much in nursing that four volunteers at Ripon’s Workhouse Museum haven’t seen.

Judy Jones, Terry Carter, Dot Bowman and Heather Fradley have collectively enjoyed nursing careers spanning from the 1950s through to last year.

They are understandably proud of the care they have given to countless patients and have used their experiences to inform blogs and quizzes created for the Workhouse Museum in Ripon.

Now aged 79, Judy Jones entered the nursing profession in 1957 at a time when collars were stiff and matrons were fearsome.

In those days it was not unusual for prospective nurses to be asked what their father’s profession was, which apparently helped the panel judge the suitability of nurse candidates.

And Mrs Jones said that the NHS from her early years is "impossible to compare" to today’s service.

She remembers a time of aprons and starched collars, when nurses’ caps were hand-folded to perfection and 11pm curfews for live-in nurse students were strictly obeyed – well almost.

“You had to be in by 11 o'clock at night, and when you wanted to stay out later you got your friends to let you in through the window!” said Mrs Jones.

“A lot has changed since then from the point of view of the nurses’ role.

“We would be giving total care and I think care has become more fragmented now.

“As a student, we were learning, but we were learning on the job."

Terry Carter, who entered the profession in 1967 at the age of 24, said that "a sense of humour" was a key requirement for a career in nursing.

She completed her training in Hull before working in various hospitals in London and throughout the country.

She said: “I had a wonderful time, it was great fun and if it wasn’t fun, I left.

“A sense of humour makes a good nurse and being able to empathise with everybody, and obviously being a people-person and having fun.

“Things are serious when you are ill, but when you are getting better, it’s fun.”

Ms Carter added: “I look back and I think I achieved something – my father said I would be scrubbing floors, he said I would amount to nothing and he never, ever mentioned that I was a nurse.”

Dot Bowman, now 60, trained in paediatrics at St James and Seacroft University Hospital in Leeds in the 1970s and later became a sister in a children's intensive care unit at a hospital in Nottingham.

She retired last year after 41-years in a variety of nursing roles and said: "You meet so many people, you learn so much – it is a lifelong learning experience, most of us here are still learning now."

And with a lot of current focus on equality in the workplace, Ms Bowman said she experienced nothing but respect within the medical profession.

"Even in the early years we had some male nurses and of course they had to live separately from us," she said.

"Some of the older nurse officers found it a little uncomfortable having male nurses around, but we were all fully-respected, no problems at all.

"Sometimes we create problems by creating labels for people, when it (sexism) just wasn't a problem, there was no bullying or anything like that, it was lovely."

Ms Bowman said it was impossible to predict what the NHS would look like in another 70-years and she described funding the service as "a black hole you are never going to fill" due to the continual progression of expensive technology and treatments.

"I think there will be another 70-years of the NHS but I think it will be more fragmented," she said.

"You are already seeing that with social services and elderly care."

Heather Fradley, who briefly got into nursing in 1966 and returned fully to the profession in 1981, said she remembers a time of home visits when district nurses would carry out small household tasks for patients.

She said: "I think you have a different rapport with people in their own homes and you would end up doing odd jobs for them because you had time then.

"I can't imagine that you would be taking out their bins or doing their shopping now!"