1950s nursing - page 6

I would love to hear how a nurses day went in the 1940s,50s, early 60s. Any major differences between now and then...any good stories to share?... Read More

  1. by   LPNer
    Quote from colrainrn
    What is Clysis? How long did metal needle IVs last...they must have infiltrated fast? What is HDC? I cant believe they smoked in hospitals..or airplanes for that matter. I ran accross a chart of a woman who was in her 90s admitted with renal failure...She had an Appy. in 1949..it was so neat to read..she was there for 6 days, no pain management that I could see,bedside notes were two or three words but every activity was recorded. It seemed that her first steps were on post op day 4. keep replys coming folks..this is awesome to read
    Sean O'Connell, RN 36yrs old
    Colrain, Massachusetts
    Graduate 2004
    There were a few metal IV needles available still in the 70s but angiocaths were also available.
    Seems they lasted just about as long as an angio does, some sites hold up while others fail pretty quick. In any event, none "last" past 3 days (except central lines.)
  2. by   Jamesdotter
    Quote from colrainrn

    What is Clysis?
    Hypodermoclysis or HDC: the injection of fluids into the subcutaneous tissues.

    I've only given it to one patient in my career. It was a child--I don't remember the age--and we gave it into the thighs, using longish metal needles. I remember watching my mother, an OB nurse (class of '26), giving it to a premature infant in her back. This must have been about 1950 or so. Little Rosemary weighed 2#7oz. at birth. She survived and did well.
    Last edit by Jamesdotter on Apr 1, '05
  3. by   UM Review RN
    How long did metal needle IVs last...they must have infiltrated fast?
    I was glad to see them go. Patients had to be really careful and not move their sites around much.
  4. by   debbiemig
    We haven't done HDC in about 15yrs where I am. I'm so glad, I think it was cruel. Give me an IV anytime!
    Quote from Fiona59
    We still use HDC. Rehydrates some elderly nicely if run overnight. Less invasive than an IV. Seen it used in palliative care as well as geriatrics. Mind you it can be a challenge to find a nice fleshy site on an 90lb little old man...

    Sometimes I think the old ways are more pratical than many of the new. But hey, whats progress for but to sell more expensive technology?
  5. by   debbiemig
    I can remember as a very young teen in the early 60's having surgery for an inquinal hernia repair and spent a week in the hospital. I was out of bed 2 days after and walked with my nose to the floor the entire time I was in the hospital. My youngest daughter had the same surgery in the same hospital in '78, they " glued" her together and sent her home the same day!

    I remember disinfecting rectal tubes and sterilizing equipt. in the autoclave. No disposable needles. Metal bedpans ( we used them as planters in my facility for a long time after the disposable came out). I remember going to our DON to get permission to wear white uniform pants in the 70's. That had to be OK'ed by the administrator! My cap was always off to one side of my head because I was always climbing under beds to connect bed restraints!
    Ah the memories!
    I also remember prepouring meds in a med room with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth!
    Wow, that was a short walk back in time!
    Quote from ocankhe
    Let's see how my memory banks are working
    Nurses didn't routinely take blood pressures in the 40's and early 50's as that was considered part of the practise of medicine.
    Patient assessmens, ie listening to lung and heart sounds ,didn't become widespread untill the 70's.
    When ICU/CCU first came about nurses had to wait for the MD to come before giving antiarrhythmic drugs IV, in fact in many places RN couldn't give any drug IV. Unless of course you were a CRNA.
    CRNA's gave virtually all of the anesthesia agents as anesthesia before te 1960's was considered a Nurses job and not an area a MD should do.
    If an MD came onto the floor the nurse had to stand, give up her chair to the MD, open the door for MD, stop using the chart and give it to te MD.
    You had to play the "nurse doctor game" to get an order changed or one you felt the patient neded.
    There was no such thing as every other weekend off.
    Nurses like children were to be seen and definetly not heard.
    Metal bedpans and hoppers.
    Bed rest for weeks after an MI or birth.
    I'm sure there is more, keep them coming
  6. by   Liann
    Prmenrs:

    The first book in the Anne Perry series about Nurse Hester Latterly (and her detective and lawyer friends) is called Face of a Stranger.
  7. by   BonnieSc
    For a really wonderful look at student nurses in the 1930s and 40s, read the books about Sue Barton by Helen Dore Boylston. The author was a nurse herself.
  8. by   NurseFirst
    Quote from Wendy79
    For a really wonderful look at student nurses in the 1930s and 40s, read the books about Sue Barton by Helen Dore Boylston. The author was a nurse herself.
    Welcome to allnurses, Wendy79!!!

    NurseFirst
  9. by   RainbowSkye
    When I was about nine years old my mom bought a huge box of Cherry Ames books at a yard sale. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. And I wanted to go to a diploma nursing program just like Cherry.

    Let's see: there were about fifty students in my class. All female, no men allowed. No one could be married. Everyone had to live in the nursing dorm which was attached to the hospital by a tunnel. We had two housemothers who lived on the first floor (by the exits) and we had very strict curfews (most of us complained it was worse than our parents' curfews at home). We could have visitors of the opposite sex only at certain times, and they were not allowed in the dorm rooms (as a matter of fact, bells were rung when the maintenance men needed to come up to the living areas for some reason and everyone would holler "Man on the Floor"). There was a nice little visiting area with a fireplace, couches and a tv right outside one of the housemother's room where you could meet with your sweetie.

    Freshman year we all went to the local university for classes in the morning - anatomy, physiology, micro, psych... Afternoon classes were in the basement of the dorm. There were several classrooms down there, a nursing arts lab and an auditorium. The first semester we studied Nursing Arts I learning how to make beds (with the bottom sheet seam down and the top sheet seam up, and of course with the pillow case opening facing away from the door), how to give bed baths and backrubs. In Nursing Arts II we learned how to give po, sub-q and IM injections and other more complicated nursing procedures.

    After successfully completing our first semester we had a capping ceremony in the dorm basement. All family and friends were invited (and actually came - this was a big deal). We got a plain white cap at this time. After finisihing our second semester we got a thin black velvet band for our cap (at our black banding ceremony).

    For our Junior year (no Soph. because the program was three years) we divided into four groups and started clinicals. If I remember correctly we had Medical, Surgical, Operating Room and Psych. 12 weeks each. Four hours of class on Monday and Tuesday morning (afternoons to study) and then eight hours of clinical on Wed, Thurs and Fri. We had to go to the hospital Tuesday afternoon for our assignments so we could work on med cards and care plans. After this year we got a fat black band for our caps.

    Finally Senior year. Same schedule as our Jr. year but now we did Peds, OB, Leadership and a course that was kind of a combination of out-patient and home health nursing/Intensive Care Nursing (six weeks of each as I recall). We were very lucky to have an Intensive Care class as most hospitals in the area didn't have dedicated ICUs at the time and ours did.

    Even though this was about 35 years ago, I still feel grateful for my initial nursing education. My old school is no longer in operation. Time marches on.

    Thanks for the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane.
  10. by   LPNer
    Quote from debbiemig
    I can remember as a very young teen in the early 60's having surgery for an inquinal hernia repair and spent a week in the hospital. I was out of bed 2 days after and walked with my nose to the floor the entire time I was in the hospital. My youngest daughter had the same surgery in the same hospital in '78, they " glued" her together and sent her home the same day!

    I remember disinfecting rectal tubes and sterilizing equipt. in the autoclave. No disposable needles. Metal bedpans ( we used them as planters in my facility for a long time after the disposable came out). I remember going to our DON to get permission to wear white uniform pants in the 70's. That had to be OK'ed by the administrator! My cap was always off to one side of my head because I was always climbing under beds to connect bed restraints!
    Ah the memories!
    I also remember prepouring meds in a med room with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth!
    Wow, that was a short walk back in time!
    I sure miss having my cigarettes while I chart!
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    My grandmother became an LVN in Texas in 1917. Working nights the nurses peeled potatos for breakfast. They used hypodermoclysis a lot to hydrate kids with diarrhea.

    When I was in LVN school in California (1960s) we were subject to an underwear check. Only white cotton was allowed. We wore blue dresses with a white pinafore over it. Clinical was three days in a row. I only had two uniforms so had to wash and iron after an eight hour shift followed by a post conference.
    Hair above the collar, white stockings and clinic shoes. I had to remove the arch support because it hurt.

    We only wore gloves to protect the patient. Even cleaned uo blood with our bare hands.

    Clinitest - 5 gtt urine in the test tube, ten gtt H2O, fifteen seconds - compare the color. The test tube became very hot.
    Working nights we had to do a clinitest on a double voided specimen. Wake up the patients at 4:00 am, walk them to the bathroom. Then at 6:00 am have them void again so the clinitest would be closer to the true blood sugar.

    In the 1970's I too remember the A-line transducers with the dome. You had to be VERY careful not to get air in the system. If you did a hurried physician would watch and fume as you 'flicked' the transducer and tubing.

    In 1980 every patient with a Swan Ganz was a 1:1 as was a titrated dopamine drip.

    Remember patients in for tests having a doctors order to go out to dinner with family?
  12. by   germain
    Quote from Titiana
    Oh yes, we were taught that none of the sheet could have the seams touching the pt, nor could it have WRINKLES, we had to make sure that the sheets and blankets were completely flat because that will irritate the skin, we also had to make special "foot folds" that the sheet and the blanket had to be in a perfect about 4 inch fold at the bottom of the bed, so they wouldn't bother the toes. We were also taught to fold back the sheet, and there were ways to do it, multiple folds, different folds for weither they were coming back from surgery...

    What a waste of time, I wish we had spent more time on learning usefull stuff. But if then if I deside to change careers I can always make beds for a living/
    I trained as an aide with a retired nursing instructor and remember making beds OVER and OVER until they were FLAT. She was a great instructor, a real view into the past, and her voice is still with me when I make a bed or wash a foot.
  13. by   KRVRN
    Ok, a question... how the heck did nurses and doctors take a blood pressure before velcro was invented?

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