Nursing: Then and Now - page 3

Looking back to when I was in nursing school, and then starting my nursing career, I remember many things that are no longer in use, or things that have transformed over the years. Gone are the days... Read More

  1. by   madwife2002

    Hair had to be up, no hair could touch your collar!

    No make up

    Mainly younger students-we had an older lady in our class who was 40 and it was unheard of

    Student nurses were in abundance in the hospital before the education became University based

    1st, 2nd and 3rd year students nurses knew their place

    Urine was never left draining in catheter bags it was emptied hourly

    Every nurse/student nurse knew every diagnoses and test of every pt on the ward.

    Nightingale wards with 20-30 pts

    All beds made and all pts washed before 11am
  2. by   Esme12
    Quote from LIZZYICU
    WOW, you all have seen a lot! I hear stories of how everyone used to smoke at the nurses' station. It's so crazy to me when I think about it.
    Yes we did.....and so did the MD's. The MD's would walk into then patients room after getting off the elevator and snuff out their smoke. We would have to watch some patients .....we had this Little ole lady who was confused....she would go to the ashtrays outside the elevator door and steal the butts to smoke in her bathroom.

    Nothing sounds (or feels) like a metal bedpan hurled at you (or dropped) in the middle of the night.

    We charted in blue/black for days, brown for evenings and red for nights.

    There were 3 bottles in the floor for water seal chest tubes.

    Calibrated the monitors with the mercury sphygmomanometers

    White uniforms....dresses only. White panty hose.

    The sisters would round every shift for "idleness".

    Dr Clancey's butt ointment.

    Pepper.....I agree.....double bagging isolation contents needs to come back.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Oct 23, '12
  3. by   SummitRN
    OP thanks for the post. I'm glad I'm not living in the NOW. THEN doesn't stack up to NOW in any respect except the quality of the people who did the job.
  4. by   amygarside
    So much has happened in the nursing profession and hopefully more changes for the better will come in the future.
  5. by   joanna73
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    "Nurses had to calculate the drip rate using the second hand on their watch and a roller clamp to regulate the flow"Knowing how to manually (or mentally) calcuate drip rates and regulate flow is skill that IMHO all nurses should know and keep keen upon. You never know where your practice will take you and or under what conditions you will be nursing.Everthing from terrorist attacks and natural disasters to simply a poorly run facility, you'll never know when you're going to be short of even absent of pumps and going to have to go "old school".
    When we were learning IV skills in nursing school, we first learned how to manually calculate drip rates. I'm glad we did. I have had to count drip rates a few times already because we didn't have an automatic pump on the unit. They were all in use.
  6. by   sistasoul

    I have been a nurse for 4 years. I have talked to a few nurses who had been nursing in the 70's and 80's. They all say the biggest change is that you had more time with the patient back then then now. Way more charting these days.
    Does anyone else think this is the biggest change?
  7. by   pookyp
    Cool thread!
  8. by   cienurse
    Enemas were not disposible plastic bottles-we mixed them in a metal can with castille soap and a long rubber tube-we called them "3 H enemes," the nurse had the last word with the patient; if we told you not to get out of bed, then you stayed there until the nurse came and told you it was okay to get up! We used KY jelly for a variety of tasks from glueing the stripe to our caps to physically assisting with bowel evacuation. Ah, the good old days! LOL
  9. by   Esme12
    anyone remember sippy one and sippy two diets????

    Red rubber NGT's

    Heat lamps for decubiti
  10. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Quote from cienurse
    Enemas were not disposible plastic bottles-we mixed them in a metal can with castille soap and a long rubber tube-we called them "3 H enemes," the nurse had the last word with the patient; if we told you not to get out of bed, then you stayed there until the nurse came and told you it was okay to get up! We used KY jelly for a variety of tasks from glueing the stripe to our caps to physically assisting with bowel evacuation. Ah, the good old days! LOL
    In the excellent PBS/BBC series "Call the Midwife" the senior nurse midwife instructing the new young one tells her to give the enema "high, hot and a hell of a lot". So there are your three "H's" for you.

    Video: Episode 1 | Watch Call the Midwife Online | PBS Video

    In their bags the midwives carry all sorts of things that might seem totally alien to us today, well at least in the form shown. For instance the rectal tubes were made of glass. When another young new nurse-midwife points this out her senior quips back "why is there a problem? Do you break things?". The gag is that "Nurse Chummy" is a great big girl and quite dead awkward,but her heart is made of gold.
  11. by   Liddle Noodnik
    I feel very old reading this thread!!! because I remember most of what was brought up here!

    Quote from Pepper The Cat
    Diabetic's sugar was determined by a urine test. Remember dropping pills into a test tube of urine and then comparing the colour of the urine to a chart to see what the sugar was. + 1, + 2 and so forth.
    Yes and as the pill dissolved the test tube got quite hot.

    Quote from tnbutterfly

    Ah yes..........Clinic brand shoes. I remember them well.
    They were quite comfy!

    Quote from Esme12
    Heat lamps for decubiti
    and I remember someone coming up with the "secret" of using maalox to the decub and then applying the heat lamp ... (and how dangerous to rely on a busy nurse like myself to remember to come back and check in 20 minutes!)
  12. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Of Nightingale wards and trolleys.

    For those of you youngsters that never experienced them Nightingale wards (named after their creator Florence Nightingale) were those big open rooms with multiple patient beds arranged in rows down each side. The purpose was to allow (then) air to circulate, general cleanliness and the comfort of patients and improve the efficiency of the nursing staff. This is where those trolleys/carts come in.

    As one only has but two arms there is a limited amount a nurse could carry, however to get down those long wards there had to be away to haul what was required; hence the trolley carts. Everything from meds,meals linens for bed making, supplies for procedures and or treatments, and so forth would be loaded onto those carts and pushed from one end of the ward to the other. When doing beds we (then) NA's would leave the cart loaded with fresh linens at one end of the ward (usually front near the door) and fetch what was needed as beds were stripped and or made.

    The problem with a ward is then as now everyone wants Nurse's attention and she or he cannot be in two places at once. You may enter Ward B to give patient "X" his meds but then patient "A" spies you first and shouts "NURSE".

    Often there was a nurse's desk at the head or end of the ward and that is where the nurse on duty sat/used as a nurses station. One could sit there and gaze down the nice neat rows at all one's patients and observe what was going on. On nights when things were dark and quiet it could get down right gloomy. Of course you also had to fight the urge to fall asleep!

    There were several downsides to large open mulitpatient wards not the least was risk of cross infection. Then there was the fact there was limited to no privacy for patients or staff for that matter. Drawing the curtains and speaking in hushed tones only went but so far. Everyone knew everyone else's business, especially during visiting hours when you'd get less than discrete family members showing up.

    Here is a clip from an old BBC television production of "The Singing Detective" which shows NHS nurses managing their patients in a ward. For some reason NHS hospitals have held onto open wards longer than us in the United States where they are no longer found.
    1 OF 6 - The Singing Detective: Skin (ENTIRE SHOW) - Dennis Potter BBC TV Miniseries 1986 - YouTube
  13. by   CrazierThanYou
    Quote from nursel56
    Some of these may have been mentioned . . .

    Laundry would send up a gigantic stack of unfolded cloth diapers. All the nurses pitched in to fold them when we had a spare minute. Disposable diapers only used for very young or babies on strict I and O. We weighed the Pampers (Huggies hadn't been invented yet :-)) and stacked them up, weighed again after baby voided.

    Most of our IVs were a butterfly in a scalp vein with a Dixie Cup cut in half taped on to protect the site. (some of the babes looked right jaunty in their paper cup hats).

    Suction machines had glass cannisters, trach care was done with a pre-sterilized cloth wrapped packs with 3 glass cups, hemostat, pipe cleaners, gauze, etc. All trachs were metal.

    Isolation gowns were cloth, too. Just about everything that is plastic or paper now was at one time glass or metal, it seems. We did not sharpen and re-use needles, though.

    No computers, just paper and typewriters as mentioned. Charts were a 3-ring binder. Everyone (doctors, nurses, social workers etc) wrote their "SOAP" notes in the progress notes. I really liked that.

    Smallpox vaccine.
    This post: I LOVE IT!