The need for a fur coat applies to any part of Canada from Montreal to Calgary. If the training is to be done in British Columbia, it will not be so essential, for British Columbia in winter is much like England - England in sunshine.
Until she has completed her training, her laundry must be done outside the hospital, and laundry charges in Canada are much more expensive than in England. She should allow an average per week of 3s. for this item. If a girl is sensible and economical, twenty-five dollars - £5 - should be ample for her to take with her. She will have no living expenses, her only necessary outlay will be the laundry expenses during her three first months of unpaid probation work, and her stamps for writing home. The living quarters in the training schools is always comfortable, modern, warm, and cheerful. The food, although plain, is the very best on the market.
When the three months of probation are over, and the candidate is accepted as a pupil-nurse, she will receive a salary of from 24s. to 32s. a month. At the end of the three years' course a nurse commands a salary for private nursing of from £3 to £5 per week; as hospital nurse £7 to £10 per month, all living expenses provided.
Hospitals in the various districts differ as regards remuneration, but all these details will be given by the training school matron to whom the girl's application is sent.
As the schools are all situated in large towns, the emigrant can calculate the cost of her journey exactly, although Eastern Canada is less expensive to reach than the West, the latter, which is only now being settled, affords far wider opportunities, and there are, in addition, more English people there.
Training schools are scattered throughout the Dominion, from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia. In Toronto there are four or five, in Winnipeg there is the Winnipeg General Hospital Training School and St. Boniface (Roman Catholic) Training School. Brandon, Manitoba, has a small but efficient school. The Vancouver General Hospital has a very fine one, and in Victoria, British Columbia, there are two large schools, so that if a candidate has friends already in Canada, it is easy to select the one nearest to their home.
The applicant should be between twenty and thirty; matrons usually prefer girls under twenty-five, though the writer has known more than one who started their course when past thirty, but this is rather late to begin such an arduous profession.
The course of lectures starts in September. Classes are held every day in the afternoon from three to four, and in the evenings from eight to nine or nine-thirty. Lectures are given by the visiting medical men, the matron, and her assistants. Every pupil must attend unless a sick-leave absence is given. All books, charts, etc., are provided by the school.
The hours of the daily routine in the wards are from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m., with two hours off for rest. One afternoon and evening a week is allowed each student. Each pupil-nurse is expected to devote some part of the day to study, it may be during the rest hours or when she comes off duty; and sometimes the rest hours are taken up with a lecture or practical demonstration.
It is not always easy to settle down to study dry books on physiology and materia medica after a strenuous day in and out of wards, answering the calls of impatient, ailing people, but the writer still looks back with pleasure to those evenings when five or six intimate friends were gathered together in one of the dormitories, reading and discussing the next day's work. Barring the added responsibility, it was much like the happy days of boarding-school.
Many women find themselves suddenly, through no fault of their own, not only penniless, but also devoid of professional or business knowledge to help them to earn their daily bread, and although there is much help given to the poorer classes, there is very little done to help poor ladies. Even if it were otherwise, charity would not meet the case.
But even these women can find simple ways of helping themselves and combating their difficulties.
Few women have any idea of earning a living when they have had no training, except by making little fancywork articles which nobody really wants, and which, after many disappointments in trying to find customers, are occasionally sold to a friend who buys them out of charity.
A woman, however, who is capable and willing can find many ways of earning from ten shillings to a pound per week. Two are described below.
In these days, when so many people live in flats and either keep only one servant or none at all, there is an opening for "visiting cooks" - i.e., women who understand good plain cooking, and could attend for three or four hours and make cakes, pastry, sweets, etc., to last for a week, also soups and savouries which merely require to be warmed up as needed.
To make a living at this work, it would be necessary to arrange to have each morning booked, but it should not be a difficult matter to find six different flats or houses where such services would be found a great boon, say, once a week. A fair charge would be at the rate of sixpence per hour, If more is charged, it is obvious that a young maid at a low salary would be more generally useful.