Nursing School 1900's Style - You Thought Your Program Was Difficult? - page 2

by DoGoodThenGo 3,784 Views | 14 Comments

Pull up a chair and have a cup of tea whilst taking a look back at what nursing education was like at the turn of the last century. Remember all this would have been done wearing undergarments (including corsets) and... Read More


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    My mom graduated in 1941 and practiced for more than 50 years. When she was in school, you could not be married, were required to live in the dorm and had a curfew.

    They had inspection every morning. Their uniform included white nylons and they were not allowed to wear any with runs (quite a problem with nylons then - not as sturdy as what we have now).

    Yes, they were required to do a lot of "non-nursing" tasks like cleaning equipment and patient rooms. They gave every patient a backrub as part of bedtime routine.

    They were required to deliver numerous babies (something like 10 or 12) on their own including with forceps. (My mom said the idea was for nurses to be able to take over when all the docs were off to war). They put in an incredible number of hours working in the hospital - much more tham students do now- and believe me, they did not complain (at least were a teacher might overhear).

    And we think nursing school is hard now!
    Spidey's mom and llg like this.
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    All kidding aside those girls got a very advanced education for females in that era.

    If one disregards all the household busy work, there is quite allot that is contained in many modern nursing programs. The "probation nurse" got her sciences (A&P, Chem, Bact, general Physics), nutrition,time management skills, Med Dose Calc, pharma, and so forth. The advice about observation is priceless and right on the money.

    The emphasis on training of private duty practice was critical as hospitals made very tidy sums hiring out their nurses for "home care". If at all possible the very wealthy and or anyone else whom could afford it remained at home and had their care brought to them. One British king even had an entire surgery suite done up at one of the palaces so he could have his gall blader (or was it appendix?) removed and recover in the comfort of his own "home" as it were. Of course any one who is a fan of those BBC/PBS dramas knows an illness was serious when a "trained nurse" was engaged and arrived at the door steps of a town house or country estate. *LOL*

    Now about that cracked ice and champange!
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    Quote from TheLastTime
    You left out the part about walking 20 miles to work every day in the snow uphill both ways...
    Actually at that time *all* student (probation) nurses lived at the residence halls provided by the hospital under conditions that probably would have made the convent or military seem tame!
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    wonderful find!! Thanks for sharing, I bookmarked the page to share with my nurse friends.
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    I have a couple of books written by nurses from various eras. My favourite is Monica Dickens (Charles' grand-daughter), who trained as a nurse during one of the wars. Very interesting.


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