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Meet alumna Carol (Morehouse) Welch, class of 1957

Jun 29, 2021

For the 75th Anniversary of the School of Nursing, we created a virtual book and invited alumni to contribute their reflections. Here is one example from our book.

Carol Welch

Photo Above: Carol (Morehouse) Welch  

What I’m up to now  

I’m retired from the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and nursing school instructor in two schools. I worked at the VON in Hamilton and Regina; the Grey Nuns School of Nursing in Regina; and the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing in Halifax.

Carol Welch 2018

Photo Above: Carol Welch, 2018

 Please share a few interesting experiences from your life.

One experience I recall came about twenty years into my career. I applied for the Public Health Nurse position in the Digby Neck Islands - Long and Brier Islands, Digby County, Nova Scotia - which is where I lived as a child. When I arrived there with all my belongings, including three children, from Halifax, the nurse had decided not to leave! I thought that was not legal! So I ended up working in the fish plant, in the local grocery store, and selling home baking. It is a good thing that McMaster taught us to be adaptable!  

Another experience I remember was when I was working with the Regina Victorian Order of Nurses. We took students with us for experience in public health. I had a hospital student with me when we went to visit one of my wonderful elderly ladies for her weekly bath. I told the student she could begin the care. She immediately received her instructions from the patient: "Now young lady, you can wash down as far as possible, and you can wash up as far as possible, but - YOU CAN'T WASH POSSIBLE!" She loved embarrassing the students. I really enjoyed the community work, and with three children, it allowed me some leeway in working hours. We were like a big family.

Carol Welch in public health uniform

Photo Above (right): Carol Welch in her public health uniform, 1959  

Please share some of your favourite memories from your time in McMaster's School of Nursing.  

McMaster was much smaller in my day, so we pretty much wandered the whole campus. I spent lots of time spent in The Buttery, especially at exam time, worked on the McMaster newspaper for a couple of years (at the same time as Marian Passmore - later Marian Engel), attended various and sundry dances - to the despair of my mother in Ottawa who feared for my class marks (she needn't have). Our class was small and some of our interesting experiences happened when Miss Greenaway took us on community learning trips. We saw cows in stalls as usual and the cows wandering the barn with music playing, so we learned that the quality of the milk depended on the quality of life of the cows!

Carol Welch dancing

Photo Above (centre): Carol Welch - Practicing for a number in the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta  

I loved my life at Mac, and I was proud to be the daughter of a 1928 graduate (Norma E.  McDormand) who was on the hockey team. I did get to attend my 60th reunion in 2017 before I came back to Nova Scotia.  We were few and far between, and a tour of the campus was amazing!  My daughter was with me. Mac has certainly come a long way, and it is so interesting to read so often in the news of its various accomplishments.  

If you could give the 18-year-old version of yourself some advice, what would you say?  

I was already in McMaster when I was 18, and any advice I gave myself would most likely have been ignored. I managed to have a successful life there, and I was launched into community nursing right away by winning a VON bursary. It was the right choice.

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