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Women and Work in Canada When I first approached Eva Mikelsons for an interview the first thing she said was tell them how much I hated it However throughout the interview Eva spoke animatedly and even remembered anecdotes with fondness Perhaps it is because of her later experiences that she remembers her entire career with distaste Eva was born in Latvia but shortly after her birth her family was evacuated to Australia at the beginning of WWII Her family she says treated her the same way as her brother the only reason he got special treatment was because he had polio Her mother and father both worked a rarity in postwar Australia and she attended an all girls school When questioned Eva says that she chose nursing because I was sick of Uni sick of being dependant on my family and I wanted to move out But I didnt have the money so I went into nursing In those days we got room and board as well as a small wage In 1963 Eva says that nurses were treated as little more than glorified maids But unlike the cleaners she compares herself to the nurses did not have a union All the young nurses were like a family like sisters They worked 6 days a week for 12 hours a shift which left little time for socializing They were also united in their hatred for the Ward Sister She was the RN she gave us the worst schedules She would do it to ruin our plans Well we did gang up on her so I suppose she gave us terrible schedules to get back at us As for her family they were mortified when she quit university to study nursing My family
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