In 1964 I pulled up my girdle, pulled up my my white nylons (with the seams straight!), donned a stiffly starched white uniform dress AND a brand new pair of, 'no bend in 'em', Clinic shoes; piled my hair on top of head and marched myself to our hospital's Orthopedic ward to began what was to become 10 years as a nurse's aide (please note the word nurse is in POSSESSIVE case meaning the aide BELONGED to the nurse)...I was 15 years old. I remember setting up O2 tents and dragging O2 tanks from the storage closet to a patients room --set up and delivery; admitting, discharging, changing dressings--sterile technique. I remember making up betadyne soaking solutions for thermometers and glass syringes; I remember washing used tubings (in Sidex or Phisohex,I think) that had been in every orifice the body possesses, and wrapping it up for sterilization -which we did ourselves, on our units. I remember carrying meds on little white trays to patients-the RNs often too busy at night sometimes to pass out ASA, MOM and such. I recall re-rolling ACE bandages after they had come up from Laundry all wrinkled and in a big knot; I recall the bathing of the deceased patient-and the changing of his sheets-(does anyone remember how hard it was to change a bed with a dead body in it?). I remember 'room wash downs' including the entire bed after a patient was discharged or died. I remember setting up LP trays and assisting the physician in the procedure-gloving up and handing him 'stuff' when he asked for it; I remember discontinuing IVs when the RN so ordered and there is so much more! Most of all I remember comraderie--and the true-ness of teamwork--before EVER it was a "concept" it was a real thing in many, many hospitals.
I received my LPN in 1974. From that point I have had the blessing of many more years of specialized training and working experiences. Sadly, I am no longer allowed to practice many of those specialized skills which I learned from you. Every learning experience whether as an aide or a nurse was taught to me by RNs...in my day, when an RN taught an aide or LPN to do something, she could trust that it would be done right and well. To think that ANY NURSE would WALK OFF a job because something wasn't in 'her job description' is terrible, yet I had the same thing happen to me when I supervised at an LTC some years ago.
I am sooooo grateful for every single experience, every grueling day, every 'scut' job. I am so glad I have first hand knowledge of the TEAM experience. From 1964 to the present now, I have been given the best that nursing has ever had to offer and MORE. One of the BESTEST things I have now are soft, colorful scrubs
; comfortable shoes; socks instead of nylons and, PRAISE GOD, comfortable undies. And, yes, my school's cap had a medium blue band--RNs had black bands--our patients didn't have to see our badges, they knew which type of nurse we were by our cap bands. If someone wearing white came into their room and wasn't wearing a cap, the patient knew she was not a nurse. In order to keep our caps looking good the more experienced nurses told us to wash it by hand with clorox and water, scrub it with a fingernail brush; soak it in argo starch then plaster it against the refrigerator until dry; peel it off the refrigerator, iron if necessary and fold so that the peak just shows above the brim.
Thanks so much for the walk down memory lane--hey, did I work with some of you gals 'way back when'? Sounds like some of you remember when we had FUN!