"The Good Ol' Days!" - page 4

by BostonTerrierLoverRN | 28,024 Views | 149 Comments

I was blown away to find out student nurses could not be married during school, when one of my instructors went to a Public Charity Hospital based Diploma Nursing Program. I loved hearing about having to sterilize everything,... Read More


  1. 6
    I remember as a student there were few electronic thermometers, so each pt. had the old mercury thermometers. One day I dropped one, and I was terrified I'd get kicked out of the program for it. We didn't have IV pumps in med surf. back then, so you had to time your IV and put a pice of tape the length of the IV with marks on it for when the IV would reach each time till it ran out. You had to remember when your piggy backs were due to run out.

    Pts. who had cataract surgery were sandbagged on wither side of the bed and not allowed to get up. Pts. who had a choley had huge surgical wounds and were sick, sick, sick.

    The had of the hospital was an older nun who would make rounds every day, checking each floor. Everybody stood t attention when she came through the unit. She was actuarially a nice woman, but boy, did she command respect.
  2. 4
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    Hmmm, what can one remember?

    A.M. care was just that and the ward/floor was done *before* lunch time.

    Shifts were 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7.

    AM care for bed ridden patients was a bed bath using a basin filled with warmish water, a small bar of Ivory or other soap, cotton wash cloth (like we used at home), and towels. If one was lucky it was a nurse and aides or two aides, usually just the one (aide) and then one had to remember all that training for shifting/positioning a patient who may or may not be able to assist. Oh yea, it's fun trying to wash up an explosive BM whilst patient refuses to "stay put" on his/her side! *LOL*

    Med/Surg I for *all* nursing programs included learning three types of beds. One was tested an these and other nursing arts in the lab as part of final examinations.

    Making an occupied bed by doing all one side at once (with pt positioned on his/her side), pushing the layers underneath pt, reposition pt, then going over to the otherside and taking away the soiled linen and pulling over the fresh.

    Going around after mid-night and removing all water pitchers from NPO patients due for the OR in the AM. Often a sign was placed on the door or near it as well.

    Hospitals had cafeterias with good food and one could actually leave the floor to go down for lunch or dinner breaks.

    Pre-folding cloth diapers when they came from the laundry and placing in linen supply on peds or newborn unit so they would be ready for changes. Learning how to fold same in different ways for boys or girls.

    Foot wear was standard nursing shoes. Clogs weren't permitted and if you fell or slipped on duty whilst wearing the things insurance often wouldn't pay up.

    Glass IV bottles of NS coming up on huge pallets from the pharmacy making a ton of racket as they clanked.

    No Pyxis nor unit dose. Nurses mixed meds prior to dispensation and or creating an IV. Most meds came in large bottles of pills or liquids and one poured out what was required.

    Hot tea with lemon or ginger ale for patients with nausea.

    Rectal tubes for gas.

    Sitting through Med Dosage Calc class learning metric - apothecary conversions and thinking "GPKMN" (God Please Kill Me Now) Grams to mgs, to grains. Grams to drams....
    No caculators allowed, show all work and the ONLY formulas allowed were what one was taught. No matter if you got the correct answer, if the method was wrong you didn't get credit. Oh and there wasn't any of that "dimensional analysis" stuff either. *LOL*

    Nurses couldn't make a diagnosis as that was the doctor's realm. So nurses would have to chart/say things like "appears to" or some such to get around. Nurses couldn't state a pt had died (that was also a medical diagnosis) until a doctor had done so. They could say "it appears the patient is no longer breathing" or in some facilities "patient has expired".

    Infant formula and sterile water came in glass bottles. One simply screwed on a nipple and got on. Cloth diapers (clean of course) were used as bibs and or burp cloths.

    No Chux. Draw sheets were doubled or a rubber mat was placed between the layers.

    When linen was in short supply the top sheet was used as the bottom and only one clean sheet was issued. Blankets were only changed every other day or when they became soiled.

    No implied formality. Patients were addressed as Mr. Mrs. Miss, or by title if they had one (Doctor for instance). Nuring staff was "Miss. Smith", or "Nurse Smith". Doctors were "Doctor Jones"....

    When patients died and they were ready to move the body to the morgue all doors to other patient's rooms were closed so they couldn't see the transfer.
    Yep, this. I had to LOL about the "appears to," "seems to," etc. Talking around in circles because God forbid you actually come out and say what's wrong with the patient.
    RN2LuvU, nursel56, GuntherNP, and 1 other like this.
  3. 9
    I can't tell you all how the stories I have read have "humbled" me. I feel so small against these nurses who have witnessed all that they have, and I thoroughly enjoy speaking with them as patients. They are Trubadors!! They will always be "heroes" in my book for their AWESOME service to mankind. The "sexist" attitudes they had to put up with (both sexes), and all the steriotypes, and never in my opinion, getting the respect they deserved for their knowledge base, amazing/awe inspiring work loads, and professionalism!!!

    I feel it's never to late to get that respect, honor, and gratitude to them now for their service, gifts to the next generation, and amazing lessons they have passed on, strengthening and seasoning our wonderful profession! So, from the most compassionate to the drill sargeant- Thanks for everything you have done to earn us respect in this profession!! Thanks for bringing it the "Professionalism, Compassion, and Discipline" that it has today! I feel so unworthy even to give you this thanks, but I assure you it is from the bottom of my heart.

    Because of the hardships you endured, and the wrongs that you made right, we have become part of the "Medical Field." We don't just have to give up that chair anymore, unless we want to. We can marry. We can complain when we feel we have been wronged. Thanks to all your movements, a woman can fight back if she has been hurt in anyway because of her gender, and doesn't have to bow to male's with "God Complex" any longer.

    You guys were of a Great Era, and I for one can't find the words to explain how much your strife, hard times, and challenges mean to me today, coupled with your good experiences, the things you witnessed that touched your hearts, and the amazing works you have left behind as an example to nurses now and of the future.

    Thanks for sharing pieces of you life with others, It is appreciated more than you know!!!!!!!!! I hope they keep coming!!!!
    MMaeLPN, catebsn25, fiveofpeep, and 6 others like this.
  4. 30
    I am a resident at a home, The nurses seen this "thread" and wanted to add my story.

    The nurses here had to get me in here to take the time to read me each story, post by post. I cannot tell you how good it has done my heart to read what you have said in your post Bo-Te-Lo-RN. As long as you keep passing along our stories, and the plights we had as young nurses, we will never be older ladies, and gentlemen, falling apart somewhere in a home; but still young somewhere, working nightshift, dreaming, young and wreckless- but you would never know it while "on" the clock.

    We would be starched, good posture, and attempting to hold that nursing cap up high, until it was time to go, that red and black cape was yesterdays labcoat. After I read your kind words, I had to go pull it out, and run my fingers over the wool stitchings of it.

    I had a great life Bo-Te-Lo-RN, and I have much thanks for your kind dose of youth and appreciation for us old crusty bats!!!
    After reading this, I know the Nursing Profession is still in good hands- but I warn you that it faces all the problems it did when I was at my climax of the profession. Addictions, Harsh Attitudes, and poor work environments still stalk some of our Nurses, and my heart pours out to them. It is only through the fight we started when Ms. Nightingale lit that lantern, that still burns today, tomorrow, and on through time as long as courage beats fear, and underdogs never give up.

    You friends have brightened my day!!!!! That rarely happens anymore. But, I will always at least know my generations strife and success wasn't in vain.

    Always remain young at heart.
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe, MMaeLPN, kh321, and 27 others like this.
  5. 10
    Not only were pumps uncommon (and reserved for a few drugs) but you also had to know what BRAND of IV tubing you were working with because each brand had it's own drip rate. I loved it when I could get my hands on microdrip tubing because they were standardized and easier to calculate (at 60gtt/ml).

    We didn't just chart in blue/green/red, meds were written in the MAR by shift color and it was a med error to transcribe it in the wrong shift color. Bic still makes their push button 3 color pen, they were great because you didn't have to carry multiple pens.

    Foleys drained to a glass bottles that sat on the floor, night shift swapped them.

    I remember rigging up a crude but effective wound vac using a Gomco, a new product called Tegaderm and rolls of Kerlex. Dang but I should have patented that.
  6. 4
    Quote from kids

    I remember rigging up a crude but effective wound vac using a Gomco, a new product called Tegaderm and rolls of Kerlex. Dang but I should have patented that.
    :bowingpur
  7. 2
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    Desperate times called for desperate measures.

    Unwed mothers had few choices back then, and not every place had decent "social services".

    Usually what a desperate teen or other unwed mother wanted was to get shot of the infant (hopefully to a good home) before her reputation (or what was left of it) was ruined.

    Of course one also didn't require tons of "ID" papers like today in order to get on in life; thus one's true BC (listing parents) may have rarely been called for. Indeed up until recently and still for all one knows it is/was possible to obtain a passport or other government ID with a litany of "other" paperwork and or simply two or more persons swearing an oath to who you were.

    This is so true, My Papas birth parents went on to marry and have 4 more boys. Papa finally figured out who they were when his birth father passed away. He attended the funeral, stayed pretty far away from the family, but him and my grandmother said all 4 boys looked just like my Papa.

    Its bitter sweet for me, my papa was adopted, my birth grandmother was crazy (literally) and left him and their 5 kids when my mom was 6 years old, and my father abandoned me and my mom when I was 1. So my true heritage will forever be a secret that I will never know.
  8. 2
    the good ol' days..hmmm one thing that comes to mind is my first job out from school working 7-3pm every am our nm would inspect our "starched white uniforms" nurses would wear their cap at all times. besides that the females would wear dresses or skirts below the knee and if any looked suspicious she would pull out her measuring tape and the male nurses would have to wear their black stripe around their collar. in addition, i would always knew when she was coming down the hall because of her chalk white stockings making a swishing sound . below you can see a similar male uniform named "ben casey" accepted by the facility where i worked. lastly, everyone addressed each other by their last name ex: mr.gitano.

    http://www.mirandauniforms.com.au/mediwear.php
    Last edit by GitanoRN on Apr 7, '12
  9. 7
    Quote from Gunther
    I am a resident at a home, The nurses seen this "thread" and wanted to add my story.

    The nurses here had to get me in here to take the time to read me each story, post by post. I cannot tell you how good it has done my heart to read what you have said in your post Bo-Te-Lo-RN. As long as you keep passing along our stories, and the plights we had as young nurses, we will never be older ladies, and gentlemen, falling apart somewhere in a home; but still young somewhere, working night shift, dreaming, young and reckless- but you would never know it while "on" the clock.

    We would be starched, good posture, and attempting to hold that nursing cap up high, until it was time to go, that red and black cape was yesterdays lab coat. After I read your kind words, I had to go pull it out, and run my fingers over the wool stitching of it.

    I had a great life Bo-Te-Lo-RN, and I have much thanks for your kind dose of youth and appreciation for us old crusty bats!!!
    After reading this, I know the Nursing Profession is still in good hands- but I warn you that it faces all the problems it did when I was at my climax of the profession. Addictions, Harsh Attitudes, and poor work environments still stalk some of our Nurses, and my heart pours out to them. It is only through the fight we started when Ms. Nightingale lit that lantern, that still burns today, tomorrow, and on through time as long as courage beats fear, and underdogs never give up.

    You friends have brightened my day!!!!! That rarely happens anymore. But, I will always at least know my generations strife and success wasn't in vain.

    Always remain young at heart.
    :kiss No, you have brightened and enriched mine.
  10. 2
    Quote from merlyn
    my first job i made $75 a week and lived at the hospital.
    that brought back memories of my salary as well, and we use to be so happy if we got a nickle raise
    RN2LuvU and nursel56 like this.


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