I left nursing 6 months ago and suddenly feel the need to discuss some of the changes I have witnessed. I got my LPN in 1967, got my RN in 1983 and boy how the world has changed. The biggest difference, of course, is the work load, most of the patients that I cared for at the end of the 20th century would not have been alive in the middle of 20th century. Hospitals have become giant life supposrt systems for the very, very sick. At the end of my career I worked on a telemetry unit, my average assignment was 8 patients, most of whom were ill enough to require one on one care. We also had big patient assignments back in the late 1960s, 40 bed wards with only 4 or 5 staff members to care for the patients in them, but the patients were for the most part ambulatory and lucid. The second area of change is in the area of respect. When I was young I remember feeling very good about being a nurse. I felt like the patients and their families thought there was something special about the nursing profession. I remember having to wear a cap, a uniform
dress with white stockings and having to stand up when the MD came into the office. Even so, patients, families and physicians seemed more courteous and respectful back then. The last couple of years those same groups of people were treating me like I was the lowest cur on earth. Anyway, that is how I remember things, but perhaps I am just remembering things that way because everyone likes to think of their youth as being some sort of golden age. Is there anyone out there who has any other thoughts on the matter?