"The Good Ol' Days!" - page 5

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. 5
    All this talk of mercury thermometers reminds me of when I was about 8 years old, my two front teeth were missing and just barely starting to grow back. My mom was taking my temp and I was messing with the thermometer in between those teeth and I busted it and got a mouth full of mercury

    I could not for the life of me figure out why everyone was freaking out, mom ended up taking me to the ER, where they monitored me for 8 whole hours....I have sinced gained a respect for those old mercury thermometers.

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  2. 7
    I had to wear white from head to toe; the white stockings, white cap, white dress. Smoking was permitted anywhere and everywhere~ my white cap turned bright yellow from all the smoke in the nursing lounge. You rarely had an IV pump. You mixed your own meds, including potassium, which is now a big no-no. You stood up and offered your seat to a doctor. A doctor could blatantly blame you for his mistake, in front of the patients, and you were not to say a word! They could throw a chart at you, too. Long hair had to be put up. No earrings unless they were studs. Only clear nail polish. RN's had to write an opening assessment on everybody's chart, for the LPN's, every shift. RN's had to hang all piggyback meds, not just pushes. The doctors had their own cafeteria, they didn't eat with the rest of the staff, and they were given huge platters of shrimp, etc., that we weren't given. The doctors all came in for breakfast, in their own cafeteria. One thing I remember is that MRSA was just being taken seriously, and we had to dress out for it (isolation.) But the doctors would waltz right in and sit on the patient's bed! I don't remember them ever wearing isolation stuff, and certainly not washing their hands. I don't mean to be "down on doctors" but this is stuff I remember.
  3. 2
    We still used the old glass thermometers on pediatric patients in the early 90's. My brother and I would play with the mercury when we were kids. Didn't know back then that it wasn't safe!
  4. 2
    Quote from OCNRN63
    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 surg. back then, so you had to time your IV and put a piece 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 either 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 head of the hospital was an older nun who would make rounds every day, checking each floor. Everybody stood at attention when she came through the unit. She was actually a nice woman, but boy, did she command respect.
    Yikes. Sorry about the typos in there. Neuropathy makes your fingers do weird things when you're typing, and auto-correct doesn't help. I can see when I've made a typo, but when auto-correct changes a word, I don't always notice.
    Esme12 and BostonTerrierLoverRN like this.
  5. 6
    Quote from applewhitern
    I had to wear white from head to toe; the white stockings, white cap, white dress. Smoking was permitted anywhere and everywhere~ my white cap turned bright yellow from all the smoke in the nursing lounge. You rarely had an IV pump. You mixed your own meds, including potassium, which is now a big no-no. You stood up and offered your seat to a doctor. A doctor could blatantly blame you for his mistake, in front of the patients, and you were not to say a word! They could throw a chart at you, too. Long hair had to be put up. No earrings unless they were studs. Only clear nail polish. RN's had to write an opening assessment on everybody's chart, for the LPN's, every shift. RN's had to hang all piggyback meds, not just pushes. The doctors had their own cafeteria, they didn't eat with the rest of the staff, and they were given huge platters of shrimp, etc., that we weren't given. The doctors all came in for breakfast, in their own cafeteria. One thing I remember is that MRSA was just being taken seriously, and we had to dress out for it (isolation.) But the doctors would waltz right in and sit on the patient's bed! I don't remember them ever wearing isolation stuff, and certainly not washing their hands. I don't mean to be "down on doctors" but this is stuff I remember.
    Even in the early 90s when I worked in peds, it was SOP to add potassium to fluids. IIRC, we mixed a few of the abx.

    I remember when I was a student seeing nurses gingerly knock on the door of the doctor's dining room if they needed something, and boy, you better really have needed something.
    ("Excuse me doctor, but your patient was smoking in bed with his oxygen on and he caught on fire. What would you like me to do?")
  6. 5
    @Gitano: Wow, what a cutie! Even in all whites. Other things I remember: Triple H enema (high, hot, hellava lot.) Altitude adjustment: wean vent, see if they would fly. 4 ounces of hot tea for constipation. Yeah, I remember not having wall suction, those horrible gomcos! I never could figure out those old-fashioned bottle things, but some old-school surgeons insisted on them!
  7. 4
    I remember working in the 1970's at a hospital that was just for Cardio-Pulmonary. A patient was on a respirator that was hooked up to a trach. Doctor's order was that the patient could still smoke. You had to take the collar away, give her a puff of a cigarette and then put the collar back on. She was on the TB unit. In this hospital Cardiac Caths were done in the OR with 5 0r 6 Doctors around the patients was knocked out. I just had one done in January - One Doctor two nurses They just gave me Valium PO. No Problem. After The Cath they sent me for triple Bypass in NYC VA. The operation was nothing. Three days later no pain. complication - Blood colts. The hell is the recovery. Comadin. I can't shave. My hair is gray anyway All I need is a trench coat, standing outside of a school yard and I go to jail. As My wife, The Historian, Masters Degree, adviser to NatGeo, Discovery, and other things, says there were no good old days. These are the good old days.
  8. 4
    I love these stories! I can't believe some of the things nurses had to endure just a few years ago!
  9. 10
    Glass thermometers came in plastic cases, red for rectal and blue for oral (or was it the other way round?). Each case had plastic sheaths one was supposed to peel apart to open, then insert thermometer. Rectal temps required a healthy smearing of Vaseline or KY. Almost without exception infant, peds and young children's temps were all rectal. Try going into a young boys room and saying you're there to take his temp "down there". *LOL*

    Only persons with beepers were the doctors, so everyone used the hospital telephone paging system. You dialed/punched the required digits and got an "open mic" and said your piece. "Code 99 CD2".

    Nursing assistants could chart their own TPR's and whatever other care provided to pt.

    Charts were those ghastly metal flap things that hung in a cart. Well that is where they were *supposed* to be, however in practice finding one for a pt when you needed it often required a game of hide and seek.

    Those darn charts also had a hasty habit of coming apart, usually with the contents scattered at the bottom of the cart/holder. If one was lucky a the ward clerk would sort the thing out and put everything back in order.

    Ward clerks (the good ones) were worth their weight in gold! They could sniff out a doctor no matter where he was and kept on the scent until found! They also were invaluable in working their own "system" to find supplies or something needed when the floor/unit was low. Sort of like "Radar" in M*A*S*H.

    Start of each shift had nurse's giving report in their lounge and the time was sacrosanct. Aides were on the floor and if something was required or there was an emergency a knock would come on the door.

    There was far less if any (depending upon the facility) "judgement of med orders/treatments by nurses. You didn't withhold meds without an EXCELLENT reason. So in many cases nurses did wake patients up to give them sleeping meds!

    Dextromethorphan came in glass bottles and was kept in the fridge located in the med room. One dispensed as prescribed.

    Central Sterile Supply department was run and often staffed with nurses. Ditto the DON's office where one could find nurses (complete with whites and caps) doing administrative and even secretarial work.

    Using "banana bags" not just for alcoholic pts as they made reading the contents of a bag even from a distance much easier.

    Nurses couldn't wear lab coats (you might be mistaken for a doctor), ditto for scrubs for floor nurses. The only nursing staff allowed those sacred garments were those on units, OR, L&D and perhaps a few others. They'd come sailing into the cafeteria often in scrub dresses and depending upon the unit caps as well, and you could just hear the seething from the starched whites crowd. *LOL* "Just who do they think they are....?"

    Nursing service was often run like a convent or boarding school. Most everything required signing off of or permission from a supervisor or charge. Got a run in your stocking and wished to run out and pick up another? Permission denied, you should keep extras in your locker. Nasty Betadine or explosive BM stain on your uniform and wished to wear scrubs? Can you send for another uniform from home/the nurse's residence? How bad is the stain? Where is it? Can you cover it with a sweater or isolation gown? Requests went up the ranks depending who had the authority to approve whatever request it was. Sooner or later a message would come back, "yes" or "denied".

    Caps, yeah you did what you had to do; but once the suits and such left the area and or building (such as on nights) the thing came off and was left in the nurse's station or shoved into a drawer. Happily there was always at least one good front desk guard that gave someone on the floors a heads up that "trouble" had entered the building, then you scrambled to get on point in case he or she was heading your way.

    Depending upon the facility RNs couldn't give meds IV push, and or only certain types. Also not every place let RNs start IV's either. If a KVO order came on evenings or nights it meant paging whatever intern or resident was on duty to get the job done. After awhile a shaggy and obviously just awoken post grad would show up. Most RNs could have gotten the thing done and been on their way by then.

    Dial-a-Flow and Master IV Dual Lock controllers on IVs that were supposed to offer *more* control over drip rates.

    Some poor nurse going mad trying to understand a badly handwritten med order and couldn't determine if that g "grams" or "grains".
  10. 1
    Yes, to almost all of the above.
    Esme12 likes this.


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