The Trail-Tadanac Hospital, now Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, first opened in 1954. Photo: Trail Historical Society

The Trail-Tadanac Hospital, now Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, first opened in 1954. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Hospital faced a nursing shortage in the summer of ‘65

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Trail Blazers is looking back almost 60 years to what was then the Trail-Tadanac Hospital.

In July 1965, the hospital was facing a significant crisis that led to almost two dozen bed closures.

The reason?

There was a serious nursing shortage.

“Responsibility for a serious shortage of nurses in the Trail-Tadanac Hospital, which has led to the closing of 20-odd surgical beds, was laid squarely upon the administration’s shoulder by the hospital’s medical staff Wednesday evening,” a Trail Times reporter wrote.

Trail-Tadanac Hospital under construction circa 1953. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail-Tadanac Hospital under construction circa 1953. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Dr. H.B. Dimock, medical staff secretary, told a regular session of Trail-Tadanac Hospital trustees that his colleagues were “very concerned” and felt lack of foresight by director of nursing Ms. Rita Ball and primitive recruitment methods were largely the cause of the present staff crisis.

“This hospital is for patients,” declared Dr. Dimock, “and when you close down 20 beds in the middle of summer with a waiting list, then it is a son of a gun.”

Closure of the beds had resulted from the so-called “unexpected” resignations of 12 nurses, necessitating a reorganization of available staff.

In his report, Dr. Dimock let loose a blast against the Trail-Tadanac Hospital administration the like of which has not been heard in years, if ever, before in the history of the hospital.

He said he had “the blessings of doctors” when he declared: “This hospital is for patients and not for doctors.” He said such a closure might have been avoided if “more foresight” had been exercised by the director of nursing.

– “Nursing Crisis Worries Doctors” Trail Daily Times July 9, 1965.

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