Quote from waterfall
I am new here, but I have been reading some posts. A lot of them have been working in the field for a long time and it seems some of them like the working environment in the old days better than now. I am just curious about what differents between being a nurse in the old days and now?
I like to know more about the old time things and compare it with today's.
I think it is very interesting.
Well, it was very different back in the earlier days. When I graduated in 1952, a 3-yr diploma nurse
was a very respected person in the community, although she was expected to dress "appropriately" and full uniform dress in those days included white shoes, hose, and a cap except for special job sites like OR, L&D, newborn nursery, or isolation.
We needed a different set of skills in those days when suction was accomplished by means of a Wangensteen arrangement, and all IV rates had to be hand-calibrated. Antibiotics were a brand-new idea, and the first penicillin I saw was the aqueous variety that had to be injected every 3 hours around the clock.
The first major change was the introduction of Medicare which gave us many more geriatric patients who were able to get treatment because the program would pay the hospitals and doctors for services rendered. DRG was introduced later in an effort to control costs to the hospital by making them "more efficient" in discharging patients quicker but sicker, while allowing them to collect a predictable fee based on the admitting diagnosis.
The biggest change in nursing, however, came from the infamous (!) "White Paper" from the ANA (American Nurses Association) creating the division of Registered Nurses into Professional (with a baccalaureate degree) and Technical (those with an Associate degree from a community college). Because most universities would give some credit for associate degrees but not for hospital RN programs, this effectively spelled the end of the hospital schools, even though many of the hospital school graduates routinely outperformed college educated students on the state board exams.
The graduates of a 3-yr hospital program were well grounded in clinical skills and were frequently in charge of a floor on 2nd or 3rd shift while they were still 3rd year students. There were no 12-hour shifts in those days, and nurses (at my school, anyway) were constantly reminded that one of their professional duties was to keep themselves in good health by taking the time to get enough sleep and eat decent meals. I can still remember my favorite clinical instructor saying, "Every time you go to work, you lay your license on the line. Why would you ever want to put yourself in danger of losing it by trying to work while you are too sick or too sleepy to be able to think straight?"
What I remember best of all, however, is the way we nurses cooperated with each other and did everything we could to make the workplace as pleasant as possible for all of us. Ah, nostalgia! When I read some of the horror stories here at Allnurses, I really wonder why those nurses did not receive the kind of practical education that would help them avoid such terrible situations.