Construction of the Female Chronic Building. June 28, 1929. Dominion Photo Co. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives
Construction of the powerhouse at Essondale. March 6, 1925
The Nurse's Home at Essondale. Stride Studios, New Westminster. Apr. 23, 1929
Colony Farm, Essondale. 1914 taken by W.J. Moore Photo
Insulin shock treatment and metrazol convulsive therapy were introduced at Essondale and primarily used to treat those with schizophrenia. High doses of insulin were injected into a patient causing convulsions - insulin shock therapy. For the metrazol convulsive therapy, injections of a chemical that caused convulsions was injected into the schizophrenic. These treatments were in use for about ten years until electro convulsive therapy replaced them. Insulin coma therapy remained in use for many years later.
Keeping trained nurses was difficult as they followed their patriotic duty and joined the war effort. So there was many untrained nurses. In 1942, there were three students to one graduate nurse - more than 100 nurses quit that year. At one point, more than half the staff lacked experience and training in hospital work and psychiatric care.
In an attempt to correct this, Essondale hired aides to help. The educational requirement for an aide was Grade 9. The nursing shortage was somewhat relieved when Essondale allowed the hiring of married women. Essondale, like many employers of the time, thought that women should leave the workforce and become homemakers after marriage. The war time shortage changed that attitude.
Since the late 19th century, men had played an important role in caring for the mentally ill. They were known as the 'keepers'. The students at Essondale's Training School were mainly female. Nine male students attended the school between 1937 to 1942.
In 1945, special courses were introduced for male Charge Attendants, which lead to a certificate of Psychiatric Nursing. Student education in a wide number of disciplines remained an important part of the hospital's operations.
I hope you find the beauty around you.