MEMORABILIA Nurses' Duties in 1887

  1. Thank you.... Healingtouch for the weblink you provided...and where I found this...



    The item below is from a newspaper clipping I found in my mother's old Bible:

    The following job description was given to floor nurses by a hospital in 1887:

    In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations:


    Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient's furniture and window sills.

    Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day's business.

    Light is important to observe the patient's condition. Therefore, each day fill kerosene lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks. Wash the windows once a week.

    The nurse's notes are important in aiding the physician's work. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to your individual taste.

    Each nurse on day duty will report every day at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. except on the Sabbath on which day you will be off from 12 noon to 2 p.m.

    Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go regularly to church.

    Each nurse should lay aside from each pay day a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you earn $30 a month you should set aside $15.

    Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop, or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions and integrity.

    The nurse who performs her labors and serves her patients and doctors without fault for five years will be given an increase of five cents a day, providing there are no hospital debts outstanding.






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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   GPatty
    Wow. Can you imagine?
    Nurses were very dedicated people then, weren't they?
    Julie
  4. by   Brownms46
    You can say that again! I wonder if I would have been able to remain in good standing....LOL!
  5. by   BrandyBSN
    atleast I would get nights off for "courting purposes" LOL!

    BrandyBSN
  6. by   Brownms46
    Just don't let him take you to a dance hall...and you don't even think about going to a beauty parlor. Wonder why THAT was off limits???:rolleyes..
  7. by   Andy S.
    I think I was definetly born during the right era!:roll
  8. by   micro
    all i can say is yikes!!!!!!!!!
  9. by   nursedawn67
    One of my instructors got kicked out of a religious nursing school for getting engaged! And she said they put their unirforms on and had to stand together to make sure all skirts were like 12 inches from the floor.
  10. by   Zee_RN
    An older woman I took care of years ago was a nurse in the '30s. She said the director of nursing would pat them down every day to make sure they had on a girdle! They got written up if they put on weight!
  11. by   Brownms46
    Lord... Now I know I wouldn't have been in good standing...:chuckle
  12. by   live4today
    Brownie, again -- you are a hoot! :chuckle We have it sooooooo good today but you'd never know that the way we gripe and moan!

    Sounds like the days of 'Yesteryore' are back...nurses mopping, cleaning floors, dusting patients rooms.... HELP!!! :chuckle

    Amazing how nursing has changed in just a little over 100 years! Maybe the real problem with nursing is that we have too many damn options to choose from. Perhaps we need to have the scope of practice unite across these United States as one body, indivisible, and enact the one degree law for becoming a nurse.
    But, WHICH degree is still the question, I know...
  13. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by Renee Williams
    Brownie, again -- you are a hoot! :chuckle We have it sooooooo good today but you'd never know that the way we gripe and moan!

    Sounds like the days of 'Yesteryore' are back...nurses mopping, cleaning floors, dusting patients rooms.... HELP!!! :chuckle

    Amazing how nursing has changed in just a little over 100 years! Maybe the real problem with nursing is that we have too many damn options to choose from. Perhaps we need to have the scope of practice unite across these United States as one body, indivisible, and enact the one degree law for becoming a nurse.
    But, WHICH degree is still the question, I know...
    You know the funny thing is Renee...I have had to mop the floors just recently when a pt...(not mine...but)..pulled out his IV and was walking down the hall. He also was incont on the floor...and I was doing a shift at the VA hospital. No housekeeping at nite ...ya know..:chuckle. Geeze don't ya love it..:chuckle

    Renee the powers that be have been agruing about this for over 20yrs..and I don't see it being settled before you or I retire..
  14. by   live4today
    Brownie, the problem is as James Brown sings about in one of his hit songs: "IT'S A MAN'S WORLD!" I'm afraid that 'aint' ever 'gonna' change. (sigh!) :chuckle

    BTW: the song we nurses are singing today is: "TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM!" Now, 'aint' that a memorable moment? :chuckle

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