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It is 1962 and Rhian, Aideen, Isobel and Deely meet for the first time to start nurse training in Belfast. During the next three years they struggle with the strict and demanding work, form close friendships, have affairs, and fall in love. Rhian's relationship with an older man causes tension and conflict, and threatens to destroy her friendship with Aideen. Aideen is pretty and fun loving, but she has a secret which she guards from the others. Isobel, who is stylish and rich, falls in love with a man her mother dislikes, and is pressured into a course of action she regrets. Deely, too, is led to do something she regrets and is forced to leave the hospital early. At the end of the three years, Rhian, Aideen and Isobel have survived the rigorous training but are sad to leave the group. Their sadness, though, is outweighed by their romantic and professional plans for the future.