You know you're Old School when... - page 2

by snoopy29

Oh dear I really have set myself off on a trip down memory lane!! Recently a doctor called me "very old school" I think it was meant as a complement but unsurprisingly I was horrified but to be fair when I look back so many... Read More


  1. 17
    Although I'm not too "old" and only being a CNA "back in the day "circa early-mid 80's to mid 90's I recall:

    Sitting in the "maternity" ward watching Mom's smoking in room with babies,..smoking allowed everywhere in hospital.

    being a "candy stripper" and wearing a pink and white dress with an apron, feeding "old people", and helping them read mail etc.

    The "haldol" for lunch bunch..lined them up for the RN for them to get their daily dose of the stuff (the amount of drugs these people were given could put an elephant down, but these "fragile" geriatric pts were still rearing to go and fight it out with you..amazing)

    Nursing home residents w/restraints..pelvics to stop them from sliding out of w/c (our "pelvic" was a flat sheet spun into a tight rope like thing draped over the set of the w/c then brought up over the thigh)..Gerichairs which always reminded me of big baby high chairs. Vest restraints..and what is now called a lap buddy..but in my day was a bar that went across the resident to stop them from standin up.

    Wet to dry dressings for ALL wounds

    taping the butt cheek "open" with medical tape to the side rail so that we could do heat light tx to the open area

    a conconction of milk of mag (?) and something else that was put on the wound..and then the heat lamp

    almost everyone with a foley cath

    hoyer lifts that were manually pumped to lift the patient, the medal bars that slid into the mesh like hoyer sheet and counting the rings to make sure each side was even

    FULL side rails

    never using much less seeing gloves.."a good CNA can clean a messy BM without getting any on her" (DON of the LTC facility)

    PPE? Never..only got gloves when dealing with people on precautions

    stand up wheeled BP's..with mercury in it..and glass oral/rectal themometers

    each shift charting in a different color (big no-no now from what i'm told..legally has to be blue or black ink)..7a-3p was blue or black, 3p-11p was green ink, 11p-7a was red..I remember having to hunt down the big pens with the multi colors since green was hard to come by..

    wearing head to toe white (pants, top, hose/socks, shoes and a sweater in either white or navy blue)

    nurses wearing caps (as late as 1993 in the last facility i worked as a CNA)

    only flat sheets, learned how to make a bed with nothing but flat sheets..and man I could bounce a bowling ball off my beds..Thank you Ms C for teaching me the 1940's way of doing things

    crank beds!! hated them..can't count how many times I jammed my hand against the bed when the crank didn't go back into position.

    The nurses had to be called Miss/Mrs So and So, the CNA's could call each other by their first names but never did you utter a first name to the nurse.

    Actually having to WASH your hands..no such thing as anti-bacterial alcohol rub.

    Less paperwork
    HazelLPN, jalyc RN, tacs333, and 14 others like this.
  2. 12
    I remember room checks in nursing school. If a maintenance man needed to fix something an announcement was made on the intercom that a man would be on a certain floor. The front door was locked after 10pm and if you came in late the receptionist would let you in and would call the DON if she thought you had been drinking. There were daterooms on the first floor if you got a visit from your boyfriend and the door had to stay open. If then door was closed the receptionist would burst through the door and make sure you weren't doing anything improper.

    I remember one of our instructors telling us that we should never wear gloves while changing a colostomy bag because it would make the patient feel bad.
  3. 37
    Quote from Sue Damonas
    I remember one of our instructors telling us that we should never wear gloves while changing a colostomy bag because it would make the patient feel bad.
    YES! We were never to wear gloves during injections, enemas, bedpans, or derm treatments because we might make the patient feel bad. The only time we were supposed to wear gloves with derm treatments was if the treatment could be dangerous to non-diseased skin. Otherwise, we were applying all sorts of medications bare-handed.

    Like CT Pixie, I also remember taping the buttocks open for the heat lamp and Milk of Mag treatment, wet-to-dry dressings, full side rails, mechanical hoyers, flat bottom sheets on the beds...

    ...and yes, those lovely bed cranks. I don't know how many times I ran my shin into one of those things. Now THAT's a painful memory.

    I worked inpatient derm for a while and we still had to wear our head-to-toe whites, even though the treatments we gave could permanently stain clothing. We asked administration if we could wear old scrubs leftover by the ICU staff and were told no, because if we wore scrubs, it might make the patients feel "dirty". So all of our uniforms were permanently stained and most of the nurses who floated to our floor would wear patient gowns over their uniforms---but that didn't make the patients feel "dirty", I guess :icon_roll

    One of the biggest changes was in the length of hospital stay. In the late seventies and early eighties, moms who had given birth (non-complicated vaginal birth) stayed for at least five days, often a week. Moms who had C-sections might stay up to two weeks. Prior to the introduction of same-day surgery, folks who had hemmorrhoidectomies would stay five days or even more; we didn't let them go home until they were having nice, soft stools that wouldn't irritate their bottoms.

    We would never send anyone home with an IV, an unhealed wound, a PICC line or anything like we see today. Even if all a person needed was a couple of days of IV antibiotics, he/she would be in the hospital, not kept at home to receive home care (if lucky) or for the patient and/or family to do the treatments without nursing help or supervision. A few months ago, when I had surgery, my wound dehisced my first night at home. The doctor later told me that a "lot" of women experienced dehiscence after an abdominal hysterectomy---I had two ER visits due to the dehiscence, plus a CT scan---all of which consumed both time and money---so wouldn't it have made a bit more sense, if the doctor knew that this was a pattern, to keep post-op patients even one more day? Ridiculous.

    I honestly miss what nursing was back then---not the parts about not wearing gloves or the backwards treatments we did---but I miss getting the chance to get to know the patients, to have the time to assess and meet psychosocial and spiritual needs. Now it seems that acute care is like a drive-through fast food place. You're in, you're out, here's your burger and your take-home meds, buh-bye!

    We have gained so much in forms of technological innovation and evidence-based practice since the '70s and '80s, but we have lost the whole foundation for the therapeutic relationship, at least in most acute care settings. There's still the opportunity to develop relationships (at least with family) in ICU and if there are long-term patients who are there for whatever reason---but honestly, I think nurses and patients have lost a tremendous, intangible experience because of the short stays we have now.
    raincitynurse, jalyc RN, fludddwrn, and 34 others like this.
  4. 13
    1. pts. who had undergone hemorrhoidectomies were not discahrged until they had their first bowel movement..

    2. cataracts..stayed in bed for 3 days with sandbags on both sides of their heads.

    3. Isolation patients: steel basin outside the room filled with 1/2 str. betadine to "disinfect your hands."

    4. Total joint replacements stayed in bed for days on end..

    5. No such thing as Infusion pumps for IV administration..the IV bag was time taped, and you calculated the drip rate.

    6. In the summer, all Hyperal solutions in glass bottles had to be shaken q 1 hour.

    7. No such thing as air-conditioning...big fans that were coated with dust!

    8. Maalox alternating with milk instilled in an N/G tube.

    9. Stripping chest tubes on open heart patients.

    10. No such thing as pressurized NS/Heparin that flushed Art. Lines..manifolds were used to manually flush the aline..God forbid if it clotted!

    11. Patients were admitted the day before surgery.

    12. Private rooms?? We had 12 and 18 bed wards..patients felt they were in "stalls."

    13. Emerson respirators..no such thing as assist-control or IMV.

    14. No 24 hour pharmacy coverage..you mixed your own drips!

    15. No such thing as post-op floors that only accepted one type of patient, i.e., vascular vs. GU.

    The list goes on and on...............
  5. 20
    I can remember the difference between YOU'RE (a contraction of You Are) and YOUR (a possessive adjective of You)...

    Honestly, nurses used to get dinged on spelling and grammar. Nowadays, with some of the entries I've read in charts, I wonder if we're still speaking English.

    Oh, as for age old nursing tech that I don't miss; if anyone has heard of the Harris Flush, then you're probably as old school as they come.
  6. 5
    All white nursing shoe's. Glass iv bottles, no nail polish. How about med carts? If a pt was going to use the other half of a vial of morphine you just put it in your pocket until you needed it again. Lol
    sevensonnets, RNSC, sharpeimom, and 2 others like this.
  7. 5
    Big adult respirators used on tiny babies (only ones they had)
    Putting your hair back in pony tail or up on head
    No clogs!!!
    Medication cards you checked every shift
    everyone got IM pain meds--not iv
    Did have better cafeteria food.
    New mothers stayed 3 days for vag and 5 to 6 days for C/S
    No children to visit under 14
    jalyc RN, blueheaven, canoehead, and 2 others like this.
  8. 0
    "String of cups on all males who just had prostate surgery..."

    Would somebody explain this?
  9. 0
    We are still required at our school to have hair "up" and all white shoes.

    I love reading these!
  10. 8
    Quote from DogWmn
    Glass IV bottles
    Glass syringes and needles you washed, sterilized and re-used
    Wooden wheelchairs ~ we still had some on the ortho floor as the old docs thought they were better
    White support hose held up by garter belts ugh (pre-pantie hose era) and being totally encased in white.
    Unfitted sheets and learning how to make a bed so a coin would bounce
    4-6 bed wards
    All nurse hospitals only LPN's/RN's, no aids or techs ~ just licensed nurses and as an LPN we were respected and valued by the RN's we worked with
    Remembering all the different styles of nursing caps from different schools and wishing yours didn't make you look like the flying nun mine added an additional 4" to my already tall 5'8"
    All the non-disposible equiment that required autoclaving. The first hospital I worked in had a huge steril supply department operating multiple autoclaves, as a student nurse I remember roatating through for 2 weeks and learning all the in's and out's of putting sterile packs together.
    Working 3-11 and giving back rubs to EVERY patient, each one got a real "tucked in for the night" ritual to help them sleep.
    NO ICU, I worked in a rural hospital and patients came right to the floor and were put in singles next to the nurses station.
    3 year diploma RN's that rocked right out of school!

    Patients stayed in the hospital much longer back then, I never remember being overwhelmed by a shift assignment, we were busy, but got our breaks and lunch/dinner. The patients got great care, shift supers were very experienced and had spent years working on different floors before being promoted to that exaulted position.
    Sheesh...really dating myself

    Kinda fun walking down memory lane and can't wait to read other inputs - thanks for this fun thread.

    I have less than a years experience as an RN. I believe I would have liked this type of nursing better than the insanity of the no breaks, no lunch, no peeing of today. I would just love to have the time to give my patients a back rub before they went to bed for the night.


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