Nursing: Then and Now - page 8

by tnbutterfly 86,924 Views | 188 Comments Admin

The nursing profession, as a whole, as well as the role of the nurse have evolved dramatically over the past several decades. I personally have witnessed the changing face of nursing during my 30+ years in the profession. Gone... Read More


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    I think the uniform does make a difference. Many times today, it is hard for the patients to tell who the nurse is as so many are dressed in scrubs. It used to be that "the nurse" was the one in white with the cap.
    lindarn and HazeKomp like this.
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    Remember when a cholecystectomy was a Huge surgery? Big incision. NPO for days, nothing per os until they "passed gas" (farted) . I remember dragging pts out of bed to get the, to move so they could fart and get the NG tube out.
    madwife2002, tnbutterfly, and lindarn like this.
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    I remember when almost all surgeries were a bigger deal than they are today........ or rather the patient got to stay in the hospital and recover a bit longer. For instance, back in the day, one would never dream of sending mastectomy patients home the day following surgery. That just blows my mind.
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe and lindarn like this.
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    I think the whites caused patients to view the nurse as one who has authority. That's so out of fashion now it's almost as quaint as standing up to give the doctor your chair. Nurses aren't allowed to do anything that could "tick" someone off anymore. It would be bothersome to me if the marketing mavens brought back the whites because the patients see it as a novelty, without the level of respect that was also associated with traditional nurse whites.

    We had to call our classmates "Miss White" and "Mr Edwards" even in a classroom miles away from the clinical site, and there were less than 20 of us at the end.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Oct 25, '12 : Reason: fellow classmates redundant
    C-lion, tnbutterfly, and lindarn like this.
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    Quote from tnbutterfly
    Speaking of the harrowing 2-day ordeal of State Boards...... One of my classmates was so worked up about taking the boards that she fainted and missed part of the first day's testing. In fact, I don't know what became of her....whether or not she was even allowed in the testing room at all. I try to block out all memories of those 2 days.......except for the miraculous fact that I passed!!!!
    I went into a 3 year fugue state and went to law school (okay, not a fugue, just bad judgment). The Bar exam is still a 2.5 days of torture, with all the law students in one large room in the state capitol. At one point during the day, I got up to get a drink of water and just rest for a second, and I noticed that one of my classmates who had been sitting 5 feet from was missing. Turns out that he had passed out and an ambulance had come and carried him out on a stretcher. Five feet from me. And I didn't notice because I was so focused on the exam. Oh well, passed it, didn't get a job, and went back to the hospital, but it does give me some interesting stories.
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    Someone turned on the 'Way Back' machine. LOL

    Requisitions were composed on a typewriter.
    I had one of those as a kid! I'm glad for computers. You know how many bottles of white-out I went through trying to type a page? Error after error. Back then, most who typed actually HAD to look at your fingers.

    IV pumps were used only in Peds and ICU. Nurses had to calculate the drip rate using the second hand on their watch and a roller clamp to regulate the flow.
    I still try to retain this skill. Actually. Why?
    Anything could happen. My former occupation, radiology, has gone digital...but it's still important for techs to know how to shoot on regular film, calculate time 'techniques' by hand, process film, duplicate film without a CD and operate/troubleshoot the processer.
    The system went down twice and the techs were having to do everything manually and there's a whole mess of xray techs out there who can't change processor chemicals or shoot with their own 'techniques' unless the computer's helping them out. The technology is great. Saves time and money, but it actually does tend to produce techs who are less skilled. In my opinion.
    I've no idea why we were ever paid as much as we were. Not that I'm trying to be the barrier to anyone's cashflow, but...seriously. A robot could do it. A fair amt of xray techs get paid $23+/hr to robotically do their jobs to begin. That's why, to those whom I suspect of only entering nursing for the money/stability? I tell them to go straight to radiology. I'm serious.
    You're not the quarterback. The nurses are. LOL Unless it's on the table, housekeeping cleans it up. You don't have to 'tap-dance' for the rude pts.
    I don't see that nursing has been revolutionized to such an extent (where everyone's literally and completely dependant on technology) as xray techs, but it's something to think about.
    Stay up on the old skills. You never know when they might come in handy.

    "State boards were 2 grueling days of exams that were completed with number 2 pencils. No computerized tests in those days."
    LOL I had to explain to one of my aunts about the process. She was kind of confused when I told her that 'the machine shut off at 85 questions'. Her brow furrowed. 'Well, when I took boards, I had 200+ questions. Ya'll do it by computers now? Hmm..."

    Nurses notes and vital signs were recorded using pen with 4 colors of ink as different colors of ink were used on different shifts. Actually only 3 were used since there were 3 shifts.
    Now, this I remember. Those in my family who are nurses used to always have these.

    "Patients were called Mr. or Mrs."
    I still do this and this still goes on. I feel weird about calling someone 20 years my senior by their first name. It just shows a complete lack of home-training (manners), in my opinion.
    Nurses wore uniforms which consisted of white dresses, white hose, white lace up oxford shoes, and, of course..........white nursing caps!
    I actually like 'whites'. I've always thought it very professional looking, in my opinion. I thought this way even before I became a nurse. I'm prior svc military and dress/appearance are pretty important in my eyes. 'Whites'... just scream 'authority'. Position. Nurses in whites look...'important'.
    Its kind of like with medical doctors or NPs. You can tell who they are because they're always running around with a clipboard and a lab-coat over their casual professional attire... looking 'important'.
    I'm just not sure how realistic it is to wear. Personally? I could imagine myself fussing (primping) with it all day...and don't let them give me a swing cape! LOL
    I would be forced to 'don'... The Cape...every single day. I'd be whooshing and swinging all over the hall.
    You know how I know? Again - ex-military. Sometimes, we'd have to wear our service (dress-up) uniforms. Worked in the hospital. Still...it was hard to not be conscious of your clothes with every movement. Doesn't matter what you're doing. When you're in a service dress uniform and not up to par, everyone will clock it. It was no thing to see someone within the dept stop a coworker to fix their slightly askew necktab. Crisis averted. Actually, even when it came to the old BDU's (the battle green).
    "What? No creases...?" *rolls eyes in disgust*
    Military folk do fuss with their uniforms. It's just done in a very serious and 'manly' way. LOL
    Or, they 'did'. The new uniforms don't require much. It's actually pretty difficult to look a mess in them, but some do the impossible and manage to pull it off.

    Then, there's the subject of dirt. I wore a white top and 2 hours into my shift, I had:
    - blood on the back (from where a resident grabbed to alert me that they'd scratched themselves)
    - chocolate pudding down the front. I was trying to lift a resident and got it all over my shirt. (it was pudding, FYI. Not pooh...although that's happened, too)
    - dots of Prostat and depakene on the bottom of the shirt. I just said 'the hell with it' and wiped my hands on my shirt/pants. It was already DIRTY!
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    Not around THAT long, but did work in a nursing home where we had to rinse the poo out of linens before they could go in the linen bag. That was a fun time after getting everyone up the morning after beef stew nights.
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    About the manual drip rates.

    I had to do one yesterday for the first time as a working nurse because of a STAT order, Central Supply wasn't answering their phone to bring up a pump, and there were no pumps to be had on the floor.

    I calculated that thing over and over for a few minutes, worrying that I did it wrong! Then, I counted the drops about a zillion times, making sure I got it right!

    At my school, we learned how to calculate drip rates manually as one of our first nursing skills, so it's not completely gone from some schools. It is a skill that should be learned.
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    I still have my cape.

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    Suctioning newborn trachea: Would bite a hole in my face mask, insert one end of Delee trap in my mouth, insert other end in babe's trachea, and suck. More times than I can count, would get secretions (meconium/amniotic fluid) in my mouth. Spit, and continue.

    Scrubbing in OR and saving time: After 10 minute scrub, don cloth gown and sterile gloves. After surgery, you did not take off gown/gloves. Washed off body fluids/blood, etc, ate your lunch. That way, you didn't have to do a full 10 minute scrub for the next case because you were still considered sterile.
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    Quote from merlee
    -
    - The class before mine was the last class required to wear girdles!!!
    And, if you did not wear a girdle, you were sent home.


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