The oddest job, however, proved to be cooking for the patients. “We worked in the diet kitchen, and that was interesting. The cooks in the hospital only had to cook the food that was for general diets, but there were a lot of patients on special diets, so we had to cook those. Samaritan was the only hospital I knew of that would have nurses do that.”
Wardlaw reflects that the hospital had a definite family atmosphere, that everyone helped each other and got along, and that the doctors were very accommodating with the students —something she would come to appreciate when working in other hospitals.
Most of all, Wardlaw said that the hospital kept spiritual growth a priority. “We not only had physical concerns to manage but spiritual concerns as well. We learned that the patient was more than their diagnosis. The patient was a person with a diagnosis. And you don’t treat the diagnosis, you treat the patient.”
Over time, raising the necessary financial support was increasingly difficult. Additionally, new government regulations following WWII requiring experience in five different clinical areas could not be met and the nursing school closed in 1954 after the last student graduated. Although patient care continued at the hospital until 1967, the closing of the nursing school was an unfortunate since the quality of training the school had provided was no longer available in the region—specifically, training with a missional emphasis intended to prepare students for the medical field in the larger view of God’s kingdom. ■